By David VergunDecember 9, 2016
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Chants of "Let's go Army. Beat Navy" by the Cadet Spirit Band and Cadet Rabble Rousers echoed in the hallways and corridors of the Pentagon, Friday, as the band and cheerleaders from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, tried to fire up the faithful and beat down the spirits of their opponents as the big event draws near.
The big event, of course, is the annual Army-Navy football game just hours away Saturday in Baltimore.
Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey joined in the chants and war dances as the Spirit Rally moved past their offices.
The excitement was predictably much less palpable in the enemy territory controlled by Navy, as the Spirit Rally marched past.
Under Secretary of the Navy Dr. Janine Davidson emerged from her hatch to acknowledge their presence.
"I applaud you for your resiliency," she told them. "I can't recall when Army won," she said, inserting the barb.
That didn't go well with the Spirit Rally cadets, who responded with "Beat Navy."
Davidson pondered the situation and admitted that it just might be possible for Army to win this year, "after all, this has been a really weird year."
During the Spirit Rally breaks, cadets said an Army win would be a really nice early Christmas present.
As the procession continued, Maj. Gen. Richard Clarke, from the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff emerged from his office to give his support to Army.
Clarke is beloved by the cadets, particularly the junior and senior cadets who remember Clarke when he was the 74th commandant of cadets, said Cadet Austin Lachance, who is one who remembers.
Lachance, a senior who is majoring in mechanical engineering, said his hometown is West Point, as his dad, a retired Soldier, is a professor of chemistry there.
CADETS GIVE PERSPECTIVE
Cadet Madison Davis, the brigade spirit and activities coordinator, said that an Army win would be nice, but she's focused right now on her studies and graduating so she can begin her training to be a helicopter pilot. She's already been accepted into the Aviation Branch and would like to fly Chinook helicopters.
Davis' parents and grandparents were present in the Pentagon to see the Spirit Rally. Her grandfather, John Even, said he was in the Iowa Army National Guard in the early 1960s. He's especially proud of her as she's the only Soldier in the family tree.
Alyssa Brochu, also a senior, said she's been accepted into the adjutant general's office. Her father, who served in the Marine Corps in the 1980s, was with her and said he was really proud of her, despite choosing a career in the Army.
Brochu said she's been successful in her French studies major by not being complacent. Same goes for physical training, she added.
(Follow David Vergun on Twitter: @vergunARNEWS)