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Navy Stages Raid on West Point to Kidnap Army Mules

December 6, 1991 GMT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) _ Navy’s football team is winless this season, but the academy laid claim Friday to a perfect record in the sport of mascot kidnapping.

A group of 17 midshipmen staged a daylight raid Thursday into the heart of enemy territory at West Point, N.Y., and came away with the four mules used as mascots for the Army football team.

The mules were displayed at an Army-Navy football game pep rally in Annapolis on Thursday night. After high-level negotiations Friday, the midshipmen agreed to return the mules in time for Saturday’s Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.

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Maj. Jim Peterson, a spokesman for the U.S. Military Academy, confirmed the mules were taken, but predicted the prank would backfire.

″They have done something to further excite the corps of cadets here at West Point and the Army football team. Unfortunately for Navy, that just means there will be a bigger loss for them when they play tomorrow,″ he said.

Midshipmen spent almost a year planning the caper, said Shawn Callahan of Baldwin, N.Y., who led the raid.

Callahan and other midshipmen, posing as tourists, made trips to the rival academy and visited the clinic where the mules were kept. They took photographs and made diagrams of the building.

Wearing Army uniforms, the midshipmen marched into the clinic and announced to a guard they were there to deliver feed for the mules.

″By the time he thought to call the MPs, it was too late,″ said Christopher Middleton, a midshipman from Laurel.

The midshipmen then made their way through two locked doors to the mules. There was no resistance from the mule handlers.

″They knew they were outnumbered,″ Middleton said. ″We explained to them it was an Army-Navy game prank, to relax, that we would bring them back in two days.″

Precisely 10 minutes after they entered the building, the midshipmen walked the mules outside and loaded them on a truck for the trip back to Annapolis.

″This is a fairly typical type of activity that one could expect during the spirit of an Army-Navy week, though quite industrious you have to admit when you move around four half-ton animals,″ Peterson said.

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