Aegis cruiser skipper keelhauled for having real goat in the goatlocker
The Navy, and goats, just go together.
When I was 13, the coach of my youth soccer team was a Naval Academy ringknocker (and the captain of the Aegis cruiser USS Princeton’s PCU that was being built at Ingalls). Well, he inundated us with Navy Soccer shirts and gear at his own expense that featured the USNA’s mascot, Bill the Goat (who has his own page at the USNA’s site and has been the official school mascot since 1893)
For those who know, the CPO mess on Navy ships is also referred to as the ‘goatlocker.’
Stay with me here.
Mascots on naval vessels probably go back to the first neanderthal war canoe and I’ve often brought them up here on LSOZI (for instance, last week’s Warship Wednesday had an image of the Soviet light cruiser Krasnyi Kavkaz‘s live-aboard bear while in 2013 I have the adorable war kitten of the Australian Navy’s first cruiser, HMAS Encounter peering out from the muzzle of a 6-inch gun– the scamp!).
Back in the old school iron navies, it was extremely common.
When the Tsar’s Baltic Fleet made the 18,000 mile trip to Tsushima Straits to line the bottom of it in 1905, they collected an exotic menagerie along the way to add to their domestic dogs and cats.
As noted by Chief Engineer Eugene S. Politovsky, “Wherever you look now you see birds, beasts, or vermin. On deck oxen are standing ready to be slaughtered for meat, to say nothing of fowls, geese, and ducks. In the cabins are monkeys, parrots, and chameleons.”
One wonders how many of those animals washed up on the shores of Korea in 1905 to continue their lives in another continent.
And its not just a steam navy thing. Hell, when I did a research cruise on an active duty USCG 87-foot patrol boat for my zombie book (shameless plug) the cutter’s skipper, who had just graduated the USCGA the year before, had her pitbull mix aboard as a ship’s pet.
So sack up already, this is a pretty longstanding tradition. Which brings me to the USS Lake Erie (CG-70) .
It seems that the Erie’s skipper, Captain John Banigan was stripped of his command by after high-ranking officials discovered a three-year-old pygmy, (called Charlie), had made regular appearances on the vessel that included a 2600-mile trip between San Diego and Pearl.
Electronics Technician 1st Class Darren Wilks told the Navy Times: “We were initially thinking of getting a stuffed goat or something to hang in the mess. But we decided to get him a real live goat. We thought he’d get a kick out of it.”
Well Banigan got a kick the heck off the Lake Erie‘s bridge out of it some two years after the fact.
Also as noted by Navy Times, Master Chief Charlie, 3, could not be made available for comment.