Whether it’s the cadets and midshipmen putting on a show, the infamous “prisoner swap,” or who sings their academy’s alma mater first, the tradition and nostalgia surrounding the annual Army-Navy game has the power to create lasting memories.
Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“One of my earliest memories is of my dad watching an Army-Navy game on a black and white TV in Massachusetts.”
Milley’s father served in the 4th Marine Division in World War II. His mother served in the Naval Medical Corps during World War II. Other family members served in World Wars I and II.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth:
“Last year was my first Army-Navy game. The games didn’t end up the way I expected or hoped, but we’re going to get them this year.”
Wormuth shared that she would not let the fabled rivalry happen between her and her husband, a veteran naval officer.
“He’s 100 percent rooting for the Army, otherwise he’d be sleeping on the couch,” she joked.
Nate Boyer, former Army Green Beret turned University of Texas flute player with the Seattle Seahawks.
Boyer, who enlisted in the military in 2005 and received his Green Beret in December 2006, shared that as long as he is stationed overseas, he watches football every chance he gets. Among other deployments, Boyer has toured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“That’s my escape, football,” he said. Boyer, who would later serve as a backup on the University of Texas football team while serving in the Texas Army National Guard, fondly remembers watching Army-Navy games in the locker room.
“This game is like no other. There is no sporting event, no comparable rivalry,” he said.
Lt. Admiral Sean Barker, President of the U.S. Naval Academy:
“My most memorable game was my first year in charge in 2019. The Navy had the most winning season in history. Beating Army 11-2 was the biggest comeback from a previous bad season.”
Lieutenant General Steve Gilland, Principal of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
“My most memorable game was in 2016 when we broke the streak. It was the first time my wife and I went since we were cadets, it was my senior year in 1989. We went and broke the streak Hit base.”
Prior to the 2016 game, the Army had lost 14 straight to the Navy.
Cadet first captain Lauren Drysdale, a senior from Irvine, Calif., plays on the West Point girls’ soccer team.
“My most memorable Army-Navy game was this year’s women’s soccer game, which we won.”
But Drysdale also watches football.
“We lost in my civilian year. My jade year [a cadet’s sophomore year] It’s COVID.It was an exciting game and after that game, the whole [Corps of Cadets] Able to return home after being unable to leave for eight months.
Rob Braggs, a West Point graduate and former Army officer, now works for insurance company USAA, a game sponsor and supporter.
“What I remember most is the parade. That feeling, it’s special. Hearing the cheers echoing on the field.”
Bill White, a graduate of the US Naval Academy and a retired Navy captain, is currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of USAA.
“We lost the first three games, so it was ‘win or lose’ our senior year, and we won the game with 11 seconds left in the game, and then we lost our minds.”
Captain Gervy Alota four-year Varsity Letterman and Captain senior.
“My senior year. We ended up winning 39-7.”
Peter Medhurst, 25 years as a live broadcaster for the Navy.
“It’s going to be Malcolm Perry’s 300-yard game against Army. For Malcolm, in this arena in 2019, against a team that’s been working on you all year because They want to win that game against your team. To see him do that on this stage is fantastic.”
Keenan Reynolds, the only Navy quarterback to go 4-0 against Army in his first Army-Navy game, NFL:
“We’ve been watching the game all year and the stadium is closed. There are hours before the game starts and people are already lining up. When we drive, the fans boo.”
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for numerous publications since 2004 and was a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his co-authored project on witness intimidation . Todd is a Marine Corps veteran who fought in the Iraq War.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor for Military Times’ Early Bird Brief newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media