• Joe Harman

Ted Gregory's Unforgettable Moment

Behind The Lines Host and Executive Producer Graham Knight hooked up with his long-time friend Ted Gregory and discovered a fascinating Unforgettable Moment in the history of the Army-Navy Rivalry.

In this conversation Ted Gregory relates the tale of that fateful night at the Navy pep rally and bonfire before the Army-Navy Game when his father -- an Army officer, West Point grad and former Army football player turned Naval Academy instructor -- was asked to defend Army to the raucous Midshipmen in attendance. His father took full advantage of the opportunity.

Here is the story:

At the Navy Pep Rally in Annapolis, which, if you haven't seen it, it's a big affair, with an enormous bonfire, the entire brigade of midshipmen, they build a whole platform. And it's the typical rally where the Superintendent is up there and the Commandant and all the "rah, rah, rah" that goes with it. It's a high-spirited affair!

Somehow they decided to give fine minutes to the Army and my father was selected to defend the Army. And so he was dressed in his full uniform, on the platform. I was about 10 at the time. It was a bitter cold November night. I was at the bottom of the platform holding his coat.

And he spoke for just a few moments and talked about how, often in warfare, the difference between victory and defeat is the element of surprise. AT which point he reipped off all of his upper clothing. So now he was standing bare-chested and he had "BEAT NAVY" written across his chest.

And, I'll remember for the rest of my life, there was this tremendous roar -- maybe the loudest roar I've ever heard -- from the entire Brigade of Midshipmen, and he thought it wise to quickly get off the platform.

So I was at the bottom, I was about to give him his coat when about ten Midshipmen grabbed him and they hustled him off toward the reflection pool. And, apparently, he was about to go in. But it was so bitter cold that his aide saved him from that.

So we have a wonderful family picture, that one of the Middies took, God bless him, at the time, of Dad in the clutches of the Midshipmen, bare-chested with "BEAT NAVY" [across his chest].

So it was, certainly one of the more memorable experiences, I'm sure, of his career.

If you have an Unforgettable Moment from the Service Academy football rivalries to share, please contact us and your story may be featured in an upcoming episode of Unforgettable Moments.