The century-plus tradition of mules at West Point isn't going anywhere, but unlike the "Star Trek"-esque tale spun by the Natick Soldier Systems Center, there was a small kernel of truth behind the USMA moves: As of Thursday, a new mascot has landed.

Paladin, the school's latest mule, reported for duty wearing the traditional red sash of an incoming West Point plebe. Ranger III, a mule that joined the mascot corps at West Point in 2011, greeted the newcomer.

Both were donated by Steve Townes, Class of 1975 and self-identified "mule donor in perpetuity." Townes graduated with the school's superintendent, Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, who said in a Friday news release that the April Fool's joke was designed to "highlight the importance of our mules as part of our traditions here."

Paladin's official debut will come at a September football game at West Point.

Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant/Army

Reaction on the USMA Facebook site to the gag was mixed, with some commenters taking the release at face value, others laughing along, and two of the more popular replies wondering whether the school's 2015 athletics rebranding, which got its own mixed reviews, was also a hoax.

The new mascot's Acceptance Day ceremony is set for Sept. 10, when the Army West Point football team hosts Rice.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

In Other News
Load More