US military academy apologises after Air Force’s falcon mascot kidnapped and injured
- The US Navy and Army academies have a long history of stealing each other’s mascots
The US Military Academy has apologised for an abduction prank that led to serious injuries being inflicted upon the 22-year-old white falcon mascot of the rival Air Force Academy.
No details have been released by either US military school about the abduction or injuries suffered by Aurora, but the incident has become a major issue for both schools far beyond Army’s 17-14 home victory Saturday over Air Force.
“The US Military Academy sincerely apologises for an incident involving USMA cadets and the Air Force Academy Falcons, which occurred Saturday,” a statement on the school’s Facebook page said.
“One of the birds was injured and the matter is currently under investigation. We are taking this situation very seriously, and this occurrence does not reflect the Army or USMA core values of dignity and respect.
“An apology was given to the US Air Force Academy for this unfortunate incident.”
The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported that the falcon was taken from an Army colonel’s home in a prank by West Point cadets, according to an Air Force representative who spoke to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity. While the cadets had the bird, both of its wings were injured, the newspaper quoted academy sources as saying.
An Air Force Academy spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Tracy Bunko, offered an improved assessment on the health of the mascot, who was said to have been in life-threatening condition earlier due to age and wing damage.
“Aurora returned home last night and as of this morning was able to fly around in her pen,” Bunko said.
“She will see a specialist later today who will determine if X-rays are necessary, but this is an extremely good sign.
“We will continue to evaluate her and administer antibiotics to prevent an infection. We are grateful for the outpouring of support and optimistic for Aurora’s recovery.”
The US Navy and Army academies have a long history of stealing each other’s mascots – goats and mules respectively.
However, no one had ever stolen Air Force’s falcon before.