Hannibal hoofing it to USMA from Colorado Foundry

WEST CHESTER, Pa., May 14 <p>A fifteen-foot-high bronze statue of the famous West Point mule "Hannibal," stopped at Keystone Helicopter's West Chester facility on Wednesday, en route from a foundry in Colorado to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where it will stand as a tribute to the academy's mule riders and Army football.

Keystone Helicopter CEO Steve Townes, himself a USMA mule rider, class of 1975, and a donor of living mules to West Point as a charitable gift, said: "The mule has been the mascot for the academy since 1899, when it first appeared at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia. Hannibal, honored by this monument, was the longest serving Army mule (1949 - 1964). I'm fairly certain this is the biggest mule in the world. It represents strength and perseverance, just like our fine troops and pilots who are serving in harm's way."

The monument will be erected in Highland Falls, New York, just south of the main West Point entrance and across from the West Point Museum, with the inscription: This monument honors all of the intrepid mule riders since 1899 who promoted the indomitable spirit of the Corps of Cadets.

The West Point Class of 1954, Company M, 2nd Regiment, and their friends, are dedicating the monument, created by the renowned Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, sculptor J. David Nunneley, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of their class. Class member Colonel W.C. "Tiny" Tomsen, who has coordinated this project from its inception over two years ago and is transporting the mule, said: "This will be a great addition to West Point, appreciated by all the cadets, and admired by the millions of visitors that come to West Point every year."

Keystone Helicopter is one of the largest and oldest helicopter services companies in the United States. Founded in 1953, Keystone operates a large fleet of turbine helicopters in numerous locations across several eastern states, primarily in the air medical mission. The firm also operates a large technical services depot and completion center near Philadelphia. Keystone Helicopter is owned by Keystone Ranger Holdings, Inc., a Philadelphia-area private equity investment organization that specializes in aviation-related ventures.

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