General George Marshall: “I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point football player.”

No rivalry is more fierce or historic than the Army-Navy game. Perhaps it’s the fact that these rivals will eventually join each other in the service of their country or in battle that makes this such an enduring tradition.

It’s a big one this year…..Army has 49 wins. Navy has 49 wins.

In my experience as a girlfriend (and future wife) of a West Point cadet and then later on as a mother of a member of the Corps of Cadets I have attended many Army-Navy games. I love the tradition and the rivalry and will not miss a game if I can help it. If I can’t be at the game in person I will make sure to watch it on television.

One of my favorite Army-Navy games was in 1996, the year our son was a “cow” at West Point. It was a cold, rainy game and Army was behind by 17 points at half-time. But they managed to come back in the second half and pulled out a win in the last few seconds. It was quite an experience.

I have heard many stories of the antics of the cadets and the midshipmen at the Army-Navy game from my husband and son. There are some really funny stories including cadets stealing the Navy goat to attempts of Navy midshipmen to kidnap the Army mule. (much harder to do)

In 1972 a Navy midshipman was invited to a bar by cadets after the Army-Navy game. He was given free drinks until he was drunker than a skunk. The cadets then stripped him of all his clothes except for his overcoat and shoes, and put him on a train to Chicago. The next day there was an announcement at West Point requesting that anyone who knew about the prank played on the midshipman should see the Commandant.

In 1973 during the Army- Navy game at the Old Memorial Stadium in Philadelphia three Navy cheerleaders were posted to the roof of the stadium to coordinate the midshipmens walk-on and an initial cheer for the television coverage. These poor midshipmen were jumped by Army cadets who took their place and proceeded to give the midshipmen some mixed signals. The midshipmen officers on the field finally restored order but from the cadets’ point of view this small amount of confusion was hilarious.

After the game is over say a prayer for all those who serve, or have served.

Here is a great insight from a member of the long gray line.

I highly recommend this book about “college football’s purest rivalry.”

There’s a countdown to the game here.

Here’s a prediction

More here.

The Military Channel will broadcast the Army-Navy game live on Saturday, December 3.

Powerline wrote about the game last year.

I wrote about the great Army win of 1996 here.

Go Army! Beat Navy!