Rivalry boasts rich tradition of American heroes
The Army-Navy game has featured five Heisman Trophy winners: Army’s Doc Blanchard (1945), Glenn Davis
(1946), Pete Dawkins (1958) and Navy’s Joe Bellino (1960), Roger Staubach
(1963) and some prominent NFL players. But there are many former Army-Navy players who distinguished themselves beyond the football playing field. A sampling:
Dwight Eisenhower, Army: The future president was a letter-winning back on the 1912 team that lost 6-0 to Navy. But he was unable to play beyond that season because of a knee injury. He graduated in 1915, part of a class that produced 59 generals, none more accomplished than Eisenhower. Before being elected president, Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War II.
Slade Cutter, Navy: A Chicago native, Cutter owns an esteemed place in Army-Navy football lore because he booted a 20-yard field goal for the only points in Navy’s 3-0 win in 1934. It was Navy’s first win since 1921. Cutter is in the College Football Hall of Fame, but he is even more respected as a World War II submarine commander. He sank 19 Japanese military ships and received four awards of the Navy Cross and two awards of the Silver Star. He died in 2005. Omar Bradley, Army: Played with Eisenhower, but didn’t letter in 1912. He was a center on the 1914 Army team that defeated Navy 20-0. He became a noteworthy World War II general, commanding U.S. First Army in the Normandy invasion. William “Bull” Halsey, Navy: Was Navy’s starting fullback for two years before graduating in 1904. He went on to become one of America’s most accomplished naval leaders. He was an impor- tant figure in World War II, reaching the rank of Fleet Admiral in 1945. Lt. General Darryl A. Williams, Army: Five months ago, Williams was named Superintendent at West Point. He is the first African American to command West Point in the academy’s 216year history. He was a defensive lineman for Army from 1979-82, posting 63 tackles as a senior. One of his career sacks was against Dan Marino. Stephen “Chase” Prasnicki, Army: Recruited as a quarterback, Prasnicki played only one game in his first three seasons. Switching to defense as a senior in 2009, Prasnicki earned playing time as a safety. First Lt. Prasnicki deployed to Afghanistan two years after graduation and was killed by roadside bomb three days after arriving in country. He had volunteered to go on that patrol. Bob McElwee, Navy: The Camden, N.J., native was a linebacker and center on the 1954 Navy team that finished No.
5 in the polls after going 8-2 and winning the Sugar Bowl 21-0 over Ole Miss. Navy beat Army 27-20 that season. But McElwee gained even more notoriety after his military career as an NFL official for 27 years. He owns the distinction of refereeing a Super Bowl in three different decades: 1988, 1993 and 2000. McElwee, 83, retired from the NFL in
2003. Mike Hastings, Army: After lettering as a senior center in 2002, Hastings won a Bronze Star while serving in Iraq and then earned a master’s degree in business management and a law degree. Today, Hastings, 38, is in his fifth year as a state senator in Minnesota. Stansfield Turner, Navy: Played guard for the Midshipmen before graduating in 1946. Navy was ranked No. 2 in the nation in 1945, but lost to No. 1ranked Army 32-13. Turner ended up achieving the rank of Admiral and then became CIA director when Jimmy Carter was president.