Army vs. Navy, service academies are special

Ever since I was old enough to watch college football, my inaugural game was the Army vs. Navy game.

I was excited to see the Brigade of Midshipmen march onto the field and then the Corps of Cadets of Army march onto the field to the tune of their fight songs.

Once in the stands, the Army vs Navy game would commence.

Yes, I am old enough to remember players like Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis and Bob Carpenter (Army’s Lonesome End) as Army was my favorite team.

There was something very special about the service academy teams. There were no football scholarships, and very few were going on to play in professional football from the academies. These players generally finisheded their football playing days after four years and then they went into military service to serve their country.

Funny thing, though, these two service academies were arch enemies on the gridiron but brothers after their game was over.

Yes, and I can remember the cheating scandal involving the Army football players one year. Coach Earl “Red” Blake was the coach then and his son was the starting QB and involved in the scandal.

I found it very difficult to believe this about my heroes, who would go on to defend their country.

Today in the 21st century, Army and Navy along with the Air Force Academy play each other for The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. There are still no scholarships, and most go into military service on active duty or into the active reserves.

Thank God college football is still the same at the service academies. It is still played for all the right reasons. I will be at this year’s Army vs. Navy game to see First Class Cadet Jared Heslop from Hollidaysburg, who will serve as the Executive Officer this semester for the Corps of Cadets of Army.

Sgt. Les Hart, USAFRes (ret.)