The photograph below depicts the Army-Navy foot ball teams in front of a football field at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco circa 1915. James Antick's father played for the Army Mules and went on to serve in the Coast Artillery Corps at the Presidio of San Francisco.
The annual Army-Navy football game began in 1890 and featured college teams from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
and the U.S. Naval Academy at
. In the 1890s, an officer at the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot decided the Army football team needed a mascot to rival the Navy's goat mascot. A mule mascot was selected since mules had been historically used to haul army equipment due to their strength, heartiness, and perseverance. During the 1899 game, a white mule pulling an ice-wagon was present on the sidelines and was thought to have helped the Army to a 17-5 victory over the Navy. Since that game, mules have been a mainstay on the sidelines as the Army's mascot. Originally, they were either selected from the stables at
or borrowed from nearby stables at away games. Not much is known about the official mascot mules until 1936, when a mule named Mr. Jackson (named for Thomas J. "Stonewall"
) arrived from Front Royal, Virginia and served as the team's mascot for twelve years and two national championships. Currently, the mascots are trained by cadet "Mule Riders" and are cared for by members of the Army Veterinary Corps.
Due to the historic affiliation of goats with the Navy, Bill the Goat is the official Navy mascot. For centuries, goats were frequent passengers on naval ships eating garbage and other undesirable food and providing milk and butter in return. In 1893, El Cid the goat, a gift from the officers of the USS New York, debuted as the Navy's mascot, propelling the Navy to a 6 – 3 victory over the Army. Although other mascots appeared over the years, the goat has served consistently since 1904. He took the name "Billy" in honor of a pet goat kept by Commander Colby M. Chester, Commandant of Midshipmen from 1891 to 1894.