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Midshipmen paint academy plane as prank before game

By: TOM ROEDER THE GAZETTE
October 5, 2005
0
Annapolis pranksters painted a vintage plane at the Air Force Academy in Navy Blue Angels colors, cadets discovered Tuesday morning. The incident, pulled off by a dozen U.S.
Naval Academy midshipmen in an exchange-student program at the academy, precedes a Saturday football game between the two schools at Annapolis, Md. The prank, done with paint that could be washed off, was met with bemused tolerance. “The cadets here will get their just revenge when we beat Navy this weekend,” pledged academy spokesman Lt. Col. Laurent Fox. Fox said academy bosses aren’t hunting down the miscreants because they took obvious pains to not damage the plane they painted in the blue and yellow colors of the famous Navy flying team. “These kinds of activities have been going on for 50 years,” Fox said. It’s the biggest pre-game prank by the midshipmen since 1991, when they changed the giant lettering in Falcon Stadium to read “Air Farce.” The plane involved, an F-4 Phantom, is an icon for cadets. It was flown in Vietnam by academy graduate Steve Ritchie, whose five air-to-air victories in the plane make him the school’s only ace. F-4s were used by the Navy during the 1960s and ’70s, and flown by the Blue Angels. The midshipmen, among roughly two dozen students from other service academies in the exchange program, restored the plane Tuesday to its green and brown Air Force paint job, Fox said. Air Force has exchange students in Annapolis, Fox said. “I imagine they’ll be hearing about this.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0240 or troeder@gazette.com
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