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Army-Navy Football: What the Game Means to Service Branches

It’s more than football, it’s family.

NCAA Football: Army at Navy James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

This week is arguably one of the most important for graduates of the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy. We’ve talked about what it means to those directly associated with the legacy of these service academies: the students, alumni, and the institutions themselves. But even for those who may have not commissioned through these ranks, the Army-Navy rivalry means highlighting the extent of both communities.

You might have received your commission through a service academy or officer candidate school. Or like me, pride yourself on being part of the enlisted group of movers and shakers, the identity of belonging to a branch of service is one that is forever lasting.

The Army-Navy game means for a few minutes to hear or watch the game, whether stateside or overseas we are brought together over a love of sport but even more, a dedication to service.

Leading up to the Army-Navy game, student excitement builds, pep rallies file through the halls of the Pentagon but also, units from all over the globe get in on the rivalry with encouragement of their own.

Whether it’s in Africa,

Or Germany.

In Virginia,

Or in Afghanistan.

On water.

Or on land.

This game brings from us together from every corner of the world. Honestly, what college football team can really say that?

Watching the Army and Navy play, means yes, enjoying a good game of college football. But it also means for other service members, for the Navy and Army, watching the future: hundreds of soon-to-be sprite, knowledgeable, and energetic leaders.

Sure, they are college students, but that’s not all. These young men and women will be charged with the caring for the livelihood of those below them. They’ll be in a position to inspire, and even more, to send and lead others into war. When you watch this game, you’re witnessing more than football. You’re witnessing a family.

One that grows in diversity, strength, and service each time someone recites the words:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

So, on Saturday, whether it’s 3 p.m. in Philadelphia, 5 a.m. in Korea, or 12:30 a.m. in Afghanistan, we’ll be tuning in to watch our brothers-in-arms on the screen and hoping our respective branch gets to walk away with the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy.

All week long, we’ve got you covered with everything Army and Navy. And for those who still think it’s only relevant to their respective athletics community, tomorrow, Gavin Jernigan will tell you just what this game means to college football.

Kaylah Jackson currently serves in the Army National Guard. She’s also the only “official” Army representative on the AAE team. So naturally, Go Army.