"There's always something special when the service academies play each other that's not in any other game. This is not a regular game and everyone involves knows it."
--Roger Staubach, former Navy Quarterback and Heisman Trophy Winner
Our nation has been at war for over 12 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is the only trend that our junior military leaders know. They know not of garrison operations but just that of preparing to deploy, deploying, fighting our nation’s wars and re-deploying. Well, the newest crop of Lieutenants and Ensigns will know no different when they graduate from the military academies next summer. What they will know is the leadership that they have studied and exercised in practical application during their last four years at their respective academies. This new crop of American military leaders will battle on the gridiron again in December for the infamous Army Navy game. For the seniors, it will be the last time for collegiate leadership before they enter the field and shores of battle in this persistent conflict and exercise tactical leadership.
The Army vs. Navy Game is an annual scholastic football game between the United States Military Academies (USMA) at West Point, New York and the Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Maryland. The USMA team, "Army", and the USNA team, "Navy", each represent their services' oldest officer commissioning sources. As such, the game has come to embody the spirit of the rivalry of the United States Armed Forces.
The rivalry kicked off over 120 years ago when Cadet Dennis Mahan Michie accepted a challenge from the Naval Academy and the two squads faced off on “The Plain” at West Point on November 29, 1890 and ever since that day, through those many years of intense cheers, unforgettable plays and climactic moments, the Army-Navy rivalry has been etched into the minds of countless fans and followers. Doc Blanchard and Roger Staubach are a few memorable names from the academies gridiron library.
It is one of the longest lasting football rivalries and a staple of fall classics in college football. It is part of the competition for the Commander’s Cup between the three military academies and it only gets better when the teams have winning seasons. The fraternal assembly and rivalry is mind blowing and brings nothing but camaraderie, esprit de corps and fall weekend entertainment to football fans.
The rivalry between West Point and Annapolis, while friendly, is intense. Even the mascots (the Navy Goat and Army Mule) have been known to play pranks on each other. The Cadets live and breathe the phrase "Go Army, Beat Navy", while Midshipmen have the opposite impressed into them. Even the weight plates in the Navy weight room are stamped with the phrase "Beat Army". They have become a symbol of competitiveness.
Harvard vs. Yale, Michigan vs. Ohio State, and of course Army vs. Navy -- the pageantry of football rivalries is worth the time to watch the more than 6,000 cadets and midshipmen march onto the field and then to their cheering sections; an impressive site. The game time traditions of push-ups, cannon fire, and singing of school songs following each score bring nothing but great memories of the past games.
The honor of the game is a tremendous tribute to the history and sportsmanship between the service academies. It also demonstrates that winning is important but teamwork is even more critical. As we continue to execute this long war, the battlefield has become a leadership laboratory for joint operations and teamwork. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coasties are fighting side by side like never before to conduct our nation’s business on distant fields and shores. One Team, One Fight has a new meaning in 21 Century warfare on those cold fields Saturday, December 14, 3:00 PM (ET) Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, you will witness a display of leadership, sportsmanship, competition and athletic prowess. But when the game clock clicks to zero, you will also witness the newest group of military leaders leaving the field of football to enter the field of battle.
Did you know?
Only three presidents attended either West Point or the Naval Academy. Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower (both went to West Point) & Jimmy Carter (US Naval Academy).
WHEN: December 14, 2013
WHERE: Lincoln Financial Field
GATES OPEN: 11:00 am
MARCH-ON: 12:15 pm
KICK-OFF: 3:00 pm ET