WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 9, 2011) -- On the eve of one of the most storied rivalries in NCAA football, Army leadership and supporters turned out by the hundreds in the corridors of the Pentagon and later in the courtyard for a rally to cheer on the U.S. Military Academy's cadets, who face their 112th showdown against the U.S. Naval Academy's Midshipmen Dec. 10.
No sooner had the West Point spirit "rabble rousers" -- marching band and cheerleaders -- arrived than the Pentagon transformed its normally sedate atmosphere to one where drum banging, trumpet blaring and shouts of "go Army, beat Navy" echoed from one floor to another.
As the Black Knight moved his rabble-rousers, rooting and keeping a quick, steady pace passing through the narrow outermost ring of the Pentagon where senior Army leadership works, on the floor below the noise and cheers were going up from Bill the Goat as he led the Navy band and cheering squad along the offices where senior Navy leadership works.
Around noon, the pep rally moved into the Pentagon's center courtyard for more cheering and rabble rousing with Maj. Gen. Frederick Hodges leading the charge, riding in on the Army mule. After introducing the winners of the spirit poster contest and rallying calls from Col. Gregory Gadson, director of the Wounded Warrior Program, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III, and Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno took the stage for some final cheers and a set of push-ups.
The Navy has won the last nine years and leads the all-time series with 55 wins, 29 losses and seven ties since the first game was played in 1890 when a challenge was issued between players from each academy.
Kick-off is at 2:30 p.m. at FedEx Field in Washington Dec. 10.