Fellow Company Mates:
It was my privilege to attend the Army Navy game last week with family and friends - as I try to each year - especially since it was even closer to us in Baltimore. Was accompanied by friends from Florida - New Jersey - Ohio - New York Connecticut and Virginia – 71,600 attendees filled the Raven’s Stadium - total sellout and the stadium is only rated at 71,000 - so there were a few hundred people standing somewhere. Army-Navy has been played in Baltimore four times now - and has also been played here in Washington’s Redskins Stadium. Suspect that most of you watched it and know what a good game it was - with both teams having injuries to some of their key players - yet they all were there cheering their lungs out. It was a bit chilly - however we were bundled up and standing much of the game to urge the team on to victory. Our class section this year had been moved back a bit from Rows 1 and 2 - to rows 12 and 13 - however the vantage point was fine. Don Hilbert was the only other classmate in that section with me - but some others may have sat elsewhere with other classes. Lynn (Sims) Lang was there with us in the class section along with her son - Richard Sims - Tom’s youngest son. Lynn is a most loyal attendee at all the WP Home games and never misses the Army Navy Game. Hank Metz’s son was sitting behind us and we enjoyed catching up on Hank and Mary Ann who had hoped to come - but the weather interfered.
It was a great day - the Army side exploded as the Army Team ran out the clock with their remaining three time outs as the cadets pouring out of the stands. In all my years of attending games - I had never seen the playing field fill so fast - with 4,000 exuberant cadets jumping over the wall to get out of the stands and on the field – it was mobbed by cadets and other fans alike - until the team moved off the field to t the locker room. On a sad note - the news reported that the first person waiting at the Cadet Locker Room door to say thanks to the team for their victory was the mother of Brandon Jackson - sophomore cornerback from Queens - NY - who had died in a car accident on Sep 16 - 2016 - after the Army Team had beat Rice at a home game that same weekend. The team mourned his death in many ways - including having his jersey #18 on their helmets. His mother - herself an Iraq Veteran - spoke briefly to the team - per news accounts - thanking them for their victory for Brandon - an Army starter for two years. A fine gesture of team spirit and loyalty.
One final note - each year in the week before the game - the West Point Society of DC co-sponsors an Army-Navy Rally lunch at the Army-Navy Country Club along with the Naval Academy Alumni Association. Army and Navy speakers challenge the other side and tell a tale or two. Our ranks have thinned over the years - but spirits remain high - even among us octogenarians. This year - Rich & Mary Ann Miller and Jo Ann & I were the only ‘55er’s there - so as you might guess - considering our 61 years of service - our table was on the front row in front of the Speaker’s Podium. Rich - in his inimitable and “hivey” engineer manner - had prepared an “INSPIRATIONAL AND ATTENTION GETTING” Beat Navy flyer - a copy of which is shown above. It is an eye catcher and Rich shared his art work and game research with all the other tables. The picture shows what he looked like in our Cow Year - 1953 - when Army beat Navy 20-7 - with a picture from the Life Magazine of that day depicting classmate Bill Doremus being carried off the field by Army Cheerleaders - as Rich led the way. What an inspirational piece of art – coupled with a “Sports Illustrated” Cover which I had never seen before – which could have been an inspiration to any team.
A great day - great spirit - and great game – now we must do it again. See you in Philadelphia next year.
Army Strong – Go Army