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12/7/08

Cadets drop 'Sink Navy' propaganda


Times Herald-Record
December 07, 2008

WEST POINT — Army cadets and aviators from West Point waged an aerial ambush over hapless midshipmen and sailors at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis this week.

At 12:05 p.m. Thursday, as the midshipmen gathered for lunch formation, a green and white Bell UH-1 series Iroquois, better known as a "Huey," pounded into view. From its side door, soldiers launched exploding crates of propaganda, including hundreds of "Sink Navy" leaflets and inflatable plastic swords.

"They were all looking up at us and shaking their fists," said senior cadet Gary Haning, 22, of Maryland. He helped with the airdrop from the Superintendent's bird. The "psychological operation" was designed to rattle Navy before Saturday's annual football grudge match in Philadelphia.

Highly orchestrated pre-game pranks between academies are not unusual. Years ago, midshipmen airdropped foam boats on cadets at West Point, and over Thanksgiving break, someone snuck into the stables and dressed up one of Army's mule mascots as a Navy goat. Raider was found wearing a white shaggy rug, sailor's cap and gold horns.

West Point's retaliation was orchestrated by its aviation detachment, with some assistance from a mole at the Naval Academy. "The (aviators) paid for it out of their training budget," Haning said.

Unfortunately, the mind game didn't work. Navy beat Army 34-0 on Saturday.

ajames@th-record.com

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