Sunday, December 15, 2019

Singing Second*

The Army three year win streak is over, the seniors at the Naval Academy will head to the Fleet knowing how it feels to Beat Army. If things had gone the other way, the Class of 2020 would join those from West Point who saw a long drought against the Navy.

My own involvement with the United States Navy began in the fall of 1997 when my son and I flew from Germany to New England. I watched with great pride as my son joined the ranks of Navy Midshipmen at the College of the Holy Cross, a school with a proud Navy tradition.

That involvement with the U.S. Navy continued after my retirement from the Air Force in 1999. Of course, The Naviguesser was still a Midshipmen but now I was employed by a company with a long history of supporting the Navy. I am still there, I am still working on projects directly supporting the mission of the Fleet.

In 2001 my son became an Ensign in the Navy. My oldest daughter, The Nuke, followed him into Navy ROTC at Holy Cross that same year. My youngest, The WSO, became a Midshipman a year later, also at Holy Cross. Whereas her two older siblings went to ROTC at Holy Cross, they actually attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) just across town, The WSO actually attended Holy Cross.

Both daughters joined the Fleet after their four years of college, The Nuke in 2005, The WSO in 2006. Both daughters married Naval Aviators, one of whom, Tuttle, is a graduate of the Naval Academy, (Big Time is a graduate of Western Michigan University. He received his commission via Officer Candidate School.)

Last year, a few days after Christmas, I had the opportunity to tour the Naval Academy, the tradition of the place is palpable. It's a beautiful campus and I full well understand the love those who graduated from there have for the place.

Bancroft Hall, USNA
"Mother B"
Dahlgren Hall, USNA
I will say this about the game, Army fought hard until the end, they never quit.

May God bless and watch over the men and women of the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, in my book, they're all winners.


Now colleges from sea to sea
May sing of colors true,
But who has better right than we
To hoist a symbol hue:
For sailors brave in battle fair
Since fighting days of old,
Have proved the sailor’s right to wear
The Navy Blue & Gold.

So hoist our colors, hoist them high,
And vow allegiance true,
So long as sunset gilds the sky
Above the ocean blue,
Unlowered shall those colors be
Whatever fate they meet,
So glorious in victory,
Triumphant in defeat.

Four years together by the Bay,
Where Severn joins the tide,
Then by the Service called away,
We’re scattered far and wide;
But still when two or three shall meet,
And old tales be retold,
From low to highest in the Fleet,
We’ll pledge the Blue and Gold.

There's always next year...

* Traditionally the team that wins the Army-Navy game sings their school song second, after the team which lost sings their school song. Singing second is good.


  1. Both the Navy and Army academies are beautiful. The Air Force academy is said to be beautiful, but I've yet to see it in person.

    The Glee Club was singing at an event to honor the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and the same event included the Glee Club singing a favorite of mine.

    Old NFO's post today is about placing the ashes of a USS Arizona survivor on the wreck of the Arizona.

    Quite the nose blowing Sunday Morning.

    Great post, and from a retired Chief, well done on your raising of your family.

    1. I can't hear Eternal Father without getting tears in my eyes. It's haunting, soul-stirring, and deep.

      I knew about the interment, brings home the fact that the Greatest Generation is passing quickly.

      Thanks John.

    2. Sarge, that's one of those songs that immediately causes an involuntary emotional reaction in me. Just hearing the title gets me a little choked up.

    3. I first heard 'Eternal Father' when I was looking around for info on that lost Argentinian sub a few years ago. And it floored me. I've been near to the sea for my first 20ish years, and have known for a long time how men have fought first the sea, then each other. And those that get it the other way around lose.

      Like Tuna, it causes an immediate choking up, and if I listen too long, I'll openly start weeping. Mrs. Andrew affectionately calls me an old woman over that.

      'Homeward Bound' is another song that just does that to me. As to many old classic Christmas Carols.

      EF, in all its variants (for each branch of Navy life) is just beautiful.

    4. Beans - I too am an "old woman" when it comes to Eternal Father. When I try to sing it, I seldom get past the second line without the world going all blurry.

  2. Always look forward to watching the Army-Navy game, Army had a different uniform look this year. The Missus Herself and you did a good job raising those young'uns Sarge...... a toast to them and you from the Northland!

    1. While I do root FOR the Navy, I'm not rooting AGAINST the Army. The young from both of those places are some of our very best.

      Thanks Nylon12, stay warm!

  3. I've heard this before, but it's so good and so powerful: "A game where everyone playing in it, is willing to die for everyone watching it."

    1. The Army-Navy game is an emotional one for me, for precisely that reason.

      I had the thought that one of the Middies in that stadium last year, who graduated last spring, lost his life defending his post.

      Really brought that phrase home to me.

  4. This series of games is the only one where I respect, as a whole, the student bodies.

    It is also very nice that the President respects them enough to go to their game every year since being elected. And shows up at their graduations.

    And... uh, GO NAVY!

    Though I am still holding out for the Air Force vs Space Force series...

    1. The President visited both locker rooms before the game, each team presented him with a "45" jersey.

      Even 44 attended the game when he was in office, which earned him some respect from me.

    2. Beans. Perhaps a 3 dimension zero gravity ball game. I'm thinking Ringo's Troy Rising series?

    3. As long as it doesn't break down into Jungle Ball... No one want's to see that... well... um... maybe...

    4. Beans. I was thinking of Comet and the Pathans.

    5. Sarge. John Ringo's "Troy Rising" series.

    6. John #2 - Rings a bell. So many books, so little time.

  5. The last ship I served on played Eternal Father over the 1MC every time we did an underway burial service.As a Gunner's mate I was part of the rifle squad until I became a Chief when I was in charge. I had to come back to this to check for spelling errors as I am not a trained typist.

  6. I went to a pub to watch Navy beat Army and there weren't many people there. No fighting, just old men, each wishing that he was young, and on that field. It was a better game because Navy won, but all of the young men who played were genuine winners because of where they attend and because of WHO they are. I was happy to see the C-in-C there as well.

  7. It's not a real rivalry unless the shared respect is so deep it'll float a BB.

    And sink a tank!

    The fact that you can love the guys in a different branch enough to die for them while at the same time doing your best to insult them to death is something non-military folks have a hard time wrapping their minds around.

    But the Army got a piece of revenge today. My nephew (kollidge freshman) is visiting with his girlfriend. "So Uncle Shaun," he said, "which branch of the Army did you serve in?"

    I told him that I served in the Naval Branch of the Army, and the irony of my response was completely wasted on him. He's a good kid who, like a very large majority of his fellows, has exactly zero concept of what the military is or does. He's also (and you'll love this) a history major. Never too late to change your major!

    1. OMG.

      Maybe the Chicoms confused them, what with their People's Liberation Army-Navy.


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