Army Mules

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Army Mule
University United States Military Academy
Conference Patriot League
Description Live mule
First seen 1899

The Army Mules are a group of two mules which serve as the mascots of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

The tradition of mules as mascots for Army dates back to 1899, when an officer at the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot decided that the team needed a mascot to counter the Navy goat. Mules were an obvious choice, as they were used as haulers for Army gear for generations. Not much is known about the "official" mules until 1936, when Mr. Jackson (named for Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson), a former Army pack mule, arrived from Front Royal, Virginia. He served for twelve years, presiding over two national championship teams. Starting with Mr. Jackson, there have been seventeen "official" Army mules, only one, "Buckshot," being female. The current Mule Corps are:

  • Ranger III (formerly known as Jack): Ranger III one of the two Army Mules, and has been on campus since 2011. He was trained by MAJ Anne Hessinger, an Army veterinarian who served at West Point in 2003–2006. Named, like his predecessor, for the 75th Ranger Regiment and all Rangers past and present, Ranger III came to the Academy in 2011 as a gift of Steve Townes, class of 1975. He stands at 16 2 (measured in hands) and is the son of a Percheron mare.
  • Stryker (formerly known as Abe): Stryker is the half-brother of Ranger III. He was also trained by MAJ Anne Hessinger and gifted by Steve Townes. Abe stands at a height slightly shorter than his brother.

The Army Mules are trained by cadet Mule Riders, a part of the Spirit Support Activity of the U.S. Corps of Cadets. The current Army Mule Riders, only one chosen from each class, are: Cadet Nels Estvold, 2013; Cadet Katherine Deaton, 2014; Cadet Samantha Dorminey, 2015; and Cadet Mike Nathman, 2016. Together they are present at many athletic events, parades, and other ceremonial activities.

Because they are kept at the United States Military Academy at West Point, many believe that Mules are West Point's mascot. However, they are actually the mascot for the entire United States Army. West Point's mascot is the Black Knight.

Former Army Mules
Name Years Donor Notes
Mr. Jackson 1936–1948 Remount Station, Front Royal, Virginia First "official" mule
Pancho 1939–1958 Ecuador Also known as "Skippy", a gift of Colon Alfaro, the Ecuadorian Ambassador to the US and father to two members of the class of 1939
Hannibal I 1948–1964 U.S. Army (a six-year veteran) Originally named "Bud" and renamed by the Corps of Cadets, Hannibal I died in 1964 after being kicked by another mule
K.C. MO 1957–1969 Mr. James M. Parker of Kansas City, Missouri Known to throw his riders; retired early
Trotter 1957–1972 U.S. Army 35th Quartermaster Pack Unit, Fort Carson, Colorado Named for his ability to trot long distances
Hannibal II 1964–1980 The Hannibal, Missouri Chamber of Commerce Originally named "Jack"
Buckshot 1964–1986 A gift of the United States Air Force Academy Exchanged for a ceremonial sword
Spartacus 1973–1994 Governor Warren E. Hearnes of Missouri Nicknamed "Frosty" for his white muzzle
Ranger I 1978–1995 Ranger Association of World War II Son of a Percheon draft mare and a Spanish jack
Black Jack 1985–1989 Senator Albert Gore, Sr. of Tennessee Died of cancer two days before the 1989 Army-Navy Game
Traveler 1990–2002 Anonymous Also known as "Dan," known for his ability to do fancy steps
Trooper 1990–2002 Mr. Bob Griffin of Houston, Texas Also known as "Ernie," known for his advanced training
Raider 1995–2011 Quincy (IL) Notre Dame High School Foundation Formerly known as "Joker." Known for his reddish color, white 'star' on his forehead, calm demeanor and high level of sociability. Son of a Tennessee Walker mare
Ranger II 2002–2011 Steven Townes, Class of 1975 Also known as "George," known for his small size and shy character. Son of a Quarter Horse mare
General Scott 2002–2011 Steven Townes, Class of 1975 Also known as "Scotty." Known for his large size, beautiful dark coat and skittish tendencies. He is named for Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Willard W. Scott Jr., a former USMA Superintendent and Army Mule supporter. Son of a Clydesdale mare

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