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10/4/08

No more pranks!

Academy: No more pranks!

By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Oct 4, 2008 10:58:21 EDT

Air Force Academy cadets have been ordered to halt all spirit missions — elaborate or simple pranks against rival service academies — before the Air Force Falcon’s football game against the Naval Academy on Saturday.

The order comes two days after a mock fast attack submarine crewed by 15 Naval Academy midshipmen surfaced in the Air Force Academy’s terrazzo on Sept. 30.

The next day, an F-35 Lightning II mockup by Lockheed Martin that was on static display in the terrazzo was rolled to a bridge leading to Fairchild Hall.

The acting Air Force Cadet Wing Commander suspended spirit missions the morning after that — Oct. 2 — “until further notice.”

“Although there have been a number of unauthorized spirit missions, moving the F-35 was specifically prohibited,” the unnamed commander wrote in an e-mail sent to all cadets.

All spirit missions must be approved by the cadet wing commander before their execution and must be cleaned up within 24 hours, Air Force Academy spokesman John Van Winkle said.

The spirit mission ban put a halt to all pranks, including those that had been approved, the e-mail said.

Any cadet who is caught conducting a spirit mission will be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for disobeying a direct order, the e-mail from the acting cadet wing commander said.

“Anything that would not be done on a normal basis, such as taking shoes, throwing midshipmen in the fountain, and ‘shaving cream bombs,’ will be considered a spirit mission. If there is any question as to whether it is a spirit mission, assume that it is a spirit mission,” the e-mail said.

The acting cadet wing commander also ordered Air Force cadets to return all uniforms taken from midshipmen.

Van Winkle said he did not know if the cadets who moved the F-35 were caught or punished. Academy officials had planned to park the F-35 in front of Falcon Stadium during the game.

The appearance of the novel submarine was only the latest unusual phenomenon to take place at the Air Force Academy in advance of a visit by the Naval Academy football team.

In years past, an Air Force F-4 Phantom fighter jet on display was painted to resemble a plane flown by the Navy’s Blue Angels, and another year, two additional letters appeared across the side of the Falcons’ stadium, converting the words “Air Force” into “Chair Force.”

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