Fun Fact: USNA’s Bill the Goat

Goats are well-known to be the ideal pets for a ship’s crew as they eat anything and provide necessities such as milk and butter.

According to legend, a Navy ship sailed with a goat on board, which sadly died during the cruise. Rather than burying the body, they decided to preserve the skin and have it mounted. They entrusted the skin to two young Ensigns who stopped by USNA to watch a football game on their way to the taxidermist. At halftime, one of the Ensigns decided to dress up in goat skin, wanting to boost morale. Undoubtedly, the crowd erupted in applause, spurring the players on to victory.

In 1893, El Cid, the first live goat, debuted at the Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia. It is said that his presence aided the Navy’s triumph, thus he was adopted as a member of the team. In the 1900s, the goat was renamed “Bill.”

As the tradition continues, Bill the Goat became the official mascot of the United States Naval Academy. It is represented by both a live goat and a costumed midshipman.


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