Army v. Navy, bigger than just Football

In the final week of College Football, tradition rules supreme. Some call it the greatest rivalry in sports, but in this rivalry, football is merely the means to a an honorable destination. What outsiders to the game must understand is their competitiveness is fueling something bigger than we can imagine. There’s no superior rivalry in the sport because, when these players graduate, they are on the same team. The greatest team in the world. The United States Military.

 

Dec 13, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cadets and Midshipmen from Army and Navy shake hands during a prisoner exchange ceremony before a game between the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

(Dec 13, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cadets and Midshipmen from Army and Navy shake hands during a prisoner exchange ceremony before a game between the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports)

“This isn’t the biggest rivalry in college football. It is the biggest rivalry in sports. … If not for these guys doing what they do, you wouldn’t have football. America understands that, because of these young men, they allow us to have freedoms in this great country.”

-Ken Niumatalolo, Head Coach of Navy Football

If the above quote sounds old-fashioned, the goal is achieved. The men on these teams compete against one another for more than a “night of liberty”, when the winning Service Academy students are free of responsibilities for a night.

army-navy-photo-1

(Benjamin Weber with his mother, Mamie)

Many people are in attendance for the Army v. Navy game each year, and traditionally this includes the President of the United States. But this weekend, we want to highlight another attendee, a hero. Baltimore, Maryland native, Benjamin Weber.

Benjamin Weber served in the Navy as a Machinest Mate 2nd Class (MM2) during the Korean War from February of 1952 – 1960. He Served on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVB 42, USS Tortuga LSD 26 and the USS Darby DE 218.

Some certificates MM2 Weber received are the U.S.N. Shell Back for crossing the Equator, U.S.N. Blue Nose Realm of the Arctic, and the Domain of the Golden Dragon, Crossing the Dateline.

He served honorably in Korea in addition to Vietnam in a covert operation in 1954 evacuating French troops from Dien Bien Phu. He is 82 years old. He Broke the color barrier in the machine tool trades in the Baltimore City, fighting for the first African American students to attend Machine tool trades. April 2nd 1983, he was awarded Teacher of the Year Trades and Industry Baltimore City Public Schools.

A few weeks ago, we heard his grand-daughter was looking for a way to get Mr. Benjamin Weber to the Army v. Navy game, but did not have the means to purchase tickets herself. After reaching out and hearing the wonderful journey of a true American hero, we wanted to make sure Mr. Weber was able to attend.

Below are Staff Sergeant Amanda Weber’s thoughts on her hero, her grandfather.

army-navy-photo-2

(Amanda, and grandfather just behind her in blue.)

“My grandfather is the best man I know. Just this past year I learned that he dropped out of High School to join the war. After serving eight years he decided to get out due to the distance and heartache it gave my grandmother, Mary Weber and their four children. My grandfather came back home to Baltimore, went back to school and attained his Master’s Degree in Education. My grandfather retired from Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School as the Engineering Department Head of 28 years. In addition to be a teacher, he was the varsity first assistant football coach for 12 years. My father was a student at Mervo followed by myself graduating in 2005 from Mervo.

My grandfather and I have always been close. I have always been his favorite grandchild. He was at my High School prom, High School Graduation, Army Basic Combat Training graduation, my Advanced Individual training graduation and Advanced Leader Course graduation for Logistics. Just this past December, marked 10 years graduating from Mervo High School. I took my grandfather to my reunion as my date. I think he was the highlight of the reunion. There were so many students he was able to see that he helped get their very first job and even helped graduate High School.

He isn’t getting much younger so every moment I try to do something special with him. This past September I found out I made the Sergeant First Class list for the Army. It has been my dream to have my father and grandfather be able to pin my rank on at my promotion. To be able to have my grandfather promote me to a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer would melt my heart and be an absolute honor. He has been my best friend and the man I look up to. There’s no one that compares to my grandfather. He is also a minister at a local church. A few days a week my grandfather volunteers at a local jail to talk to the youth about getting back on track and getting their life together. My grandfather is a man of great character.

His ultimate favorite football teams include the Navy Football team in addition to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than for his favorite granddaughter, his American Army Soldier girl to take him to an Army vs. Navy football game while he can still appreciate it. The only thing better would be for the Army to win this year!!” – Staff Sergeant Amanda H. Weber

“The Army-Navy game provides an opportunity for us to thank our supporters, invite retired heroes to an iconic event and remind our scholarship recipients that our purpose in life ensures the fallen will never be forgotten.”

This weekend, we are happy to announce that Staff Sergeant Amanda Weber and her grandfather, Benjamin Weber will be in attendance at the game of all games in Baltimore, Maryland.

Thank you both for your service to our great country, we know freedom isn’t free and your TicketCity family is forever inspired by your dedication and bravery.

 

Comments

comments