Exclusive interview with 'The Admiral' David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY SPORTS

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

This weekend, the greatest rivalry in American sports kicks off (albeit under different circumstances).  This year, the Army Black Knights will host the Midshipmen of the Naval Academy at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The game is usually held at a neutral location but with COVID-19 putting a hold on public gatherings, both schools decided to move the location of the game to West Point. This is the first time since 1943 that the game will be held on campus. While the game location might be different than usual, USAA is working to make sure that fans can still experience the pageantry and excitement of this year’s game, and giving fans an opportunity to win a package to next year’s game! 

USAA partnered with NBA legend and Naval Academy graduate, David Robinson to promote the Army Navy House sweepstakes. 

What is it?

Go to ArmyNavyHouse.com and upload a photo that shows off your Army or Navy fandom, or your favorite Army-Navy Game memory – and you will be entered for a chance to win.

What can you win? 

Well, one Army winner and one Navy winner will each win a trip (including flight, hotel, game tickets) to the 2021 Army-Navy Game in New York, courtesy of USAA.

We Are the Mighty got to sit down with David Robinson and talk about his time at the Naval Academy, his service in the Navy and what the Army-Navy rivalry means to him.

Robinson, known around the world as “The Admiral” played basketball at Navy, before going on to a storied NBA career. Robinson served in the Navy for two years, stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia. Robinson then became a two-time NBA champion, NBA MVP, 10-time All-Star, and led the league in scoring, rebounds and blocks several times. He also was a three-time Olympian, winning the gold medal twice, most famously as a member of the 1992 USA Basketball team. The team would go down as the best basketball team of all time, forever remembered as the Dream Team. Robinson was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame and is considered one of the game’s all time greats. 

The Admiral was kind enough to talk about the game, what USAA is doing, and his time as a midshipman and a Naval Officer. 

David Robinson on the cover of Sports Illustrated
David Robinson on the cover of Sports Illustrated

WATM: So, the first question is what does the Army-Navy, I’m sorry, Navy-Army game, mean to you?

Robinson: (Laughs) It’s the Navy-Army Game. It’s just a great rivalry. It’s a classic rivalry that has class. Some of the rivalries I’ve seen, people are kind of being mean to each other but here there’s just the utmost level of respect that’s been going on forever. And, to me, it’s the best example of just good hard competition and rivalry that we have in all of sport.

WATM: As a midshipman, what was your favorite experience at the Navy-Army game?

Robinson: I actually never got a chance to go! We played basketball, and it always happens during the basketball season. My professional career again, basketball, got in the way so for many, many years. I started going a few years ago. It was four years ago or so and, and I just enjoyed it tremendously. I had always watched on TV, seeing all the excitement, but it’s a different experience in person.

WATM: Oh wow, I didn’t know you couldn’t go when you were in school. But now that you get to go, what is your favorite tradition from the game?

Robinson: The thing I always enjoy is watching the midshipmen and watching the cadets. You know for me, it just takes me back to us going down to do pushups after scores. And so, you know, I think for me it’s just a, it’s a reminder of life at the Academy. I love watching after a team scores the excitement of the students.

WATM: So when you played in San Antonio, which we know is an Air Force town, did you get a lot of grief for being a naval officer?

Robinson: (Laughs) No, no grief. I think it’s been fantastic actually. You know, we have a couple of Army bases and couple of Air Force bases here and it’s just a really great place to live. The military has embraced me so well here, I’ve always felt right at home.

Fortunately, you know, people forgive you after you beat them a couple of times. You look back down the road and it’s actually been a great place for me to be because of the military.

NBA.com

WATM: What advice would you give enlisted troops or kids who are thinking of attending a service academy? 

Robinson: Yeah, I would say, you know, the academies are very, very difficult and they’re very focused. You have to know what you want to get out of it. I always tell people I talked to young kids who want to go to the academies all the time and I tell them that, you know, don’t go because someone else thinks it’s a great idea for you. You’d have to go because it’s your idea and it’s what you think is the perfect thing for you. And if you do that, then you’ll be able to kind of fight through all of the challenges and become a really solid officer. The academies are amazing for people who want to be leaders and who want to take on the responsibility of a leader, which is good and bad, right? You get privileges but you also have tremendous responsibility for people. And if you have a heart to be that type of a person, then you can’t find a better place to go.

WATM: What made you choose the Naval Academy?

Robinson: Well, I think it was my father’s idea for me to go more than anything early on. He introduced me to it and wanted me to take a look at it, I think because he was enlisted in the Navy. He always thought that would be a great path for me and it took a little while for it to grow on me. I grew so late into basketball and it became a factor for me in my senior year. I started looking around and saying, well, is this the best place for me to go, academically and basketball-wise… and and it just had the best combination of everything that fit my personality.

WATM: When you were at the Naval Academy, you were heralded as one of the nation’s best basketball players. How supportive was the administration as it became apparent that you were destined to end up in the NBA at some point?

Robinson: Well, the administration was remarkably supportive, to be honest with you. I mean, coming in, no one thought I was going to be professional basketball player, I was 6’7’ and skinny as a rail. I wasn’t a pro prospect coming in but as the attention gathered and we had more and more success, the Academy did just a great job of embracing me and given me an opportunity to be who I needed to be as a basketball player as well as a military officer. Looking back on it at all, it just worked out so well I couldn’t rewrite the story if I wanted to.

WATM: Now you did serve for a couple of years as a Naval Officer before going to the Spurs full time. As a veteran, what is your favorite memory of serving in the Navy?

Robinson: I think for me just seeing the dedication of folks from the day-to-day basis. I was a civil engineer. I worked down at Kings Bay, Georgia and just going in every day and working hard and seeing the commitment that our service members have to whatever job it is. I mean, I was building explosives, handling stuff for submarines and doing street lights for a new community… and just the professionalism and the energy that our service people take to do their jobs. I think that to me, that is what I enjoyed that more than anything. There’s just such a pride in working together and serving a cause bigger than yourself.

WATM: That’s pretty awesome. So back to the Army-Navy game, what is your prediction for this year’s game? 

Robinson: (Laughs) My prediction is pain… for Army! You know, Army has played so well the last few years, after many years of domination by Navy. So we got our backs against the wall now, and Navy needs to really step it up and defend our honor this year. So, I think we can do it.

WATM: Do you have any Army buddies you make bets on the game with, so you have bragging rights on them? Is there anything in particular that you do for the game to spice up the rivalry a bit?

Robinson: Yes, well you know there, there are guys here locally that I don’t necessarily have bets with but we have spirited conversations. When I was at Navy, Army had a great basketball player named Kevin Houston, one of the top — I think he was the top scorer in the nation our senior year — but Kevin and I have known each other for many, many years and, and it’s always kind of a fun thing.

 You just end up thinking about how it means to us now as opposed to back then. There’s a lot of Army guys that yeah, I have great relationships with them and we just have fun with the game. 

Kevin Houston playing for Army

WATM: We’re pretty excited about the game. It’s going to be a pretty unique because of COVID and everything. This year being at West Point are you hoping that one year, they go back to having it on campus or do you want to keep the neutral site location like how it normally is?

Robinson: Personally I like the neutral site. I think it’s just a game that is bigger than either school. I think it means something to the psyche of America. So I love, I love seeing it kind of on a big stage and being the big production that it generally is, I think that’s fantastic. You know this year is a little bit of a challenge, we’re obviously trying to make it much more accessible to everyone through ArmyNavyHouse.com so that people can still engage but I think all these, all these changes, all these little things here and there you know, add character to the rivalry into the series. But in the long run I’d love to just see a big stadium where the United States can celebrate it.

WATM: Now that we covered the Army-Navy game, we actually wrote an article about you back in April and one of the things we wanted to ask was about the charter school you started. We know you started a charter school in San Antonio toward the end of your playing career. How’s everything going with that especially during COVID. Is everything going okay? 

Robinson: Wow, well, thanks for asking. Yeah, we started the Carver Academy and we actually started as a private school back 20 years ago or so. We built in a low income area on the east side of San Antonio. We wanted to get as many kids college ready who were from low-income areas as possible. We joined up with the charter school group, I don’t know about eight years ago. We’ve been able to grow it incredibly well. Now we’ve got something like 26 schools here in San Antonio and got nearly a hundred schools across Texas and Louisiana. And it’s been amazing with the charter school system in the country. It’s called IDEA public schools and so we’re very excited about it.

Robinson with kids from the Carver Academy

COVID threw around a little bit of wrench for all of education but, you know, from our standpoint, we’re able to focus on getting WiFi access to our families. We’ve opened up the schools, we made sure there was plexiglass up and the kids had an opportunity to be safe. Very few of the kids came back at the beginning but maybe about 25 percent or more are in the schools now, and hopefully we’ll get that back up to a good number soon because with kids from low-income areas, getting them into the classroom is going to be the best way they learn.

###

USAA proudly supports the 121st Army-Navy Game as the presenting sponsor of the storied rivalry between the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.

“America’s Game” will be played on the campus at West Point for the first time since 1943 in front of a crowd of Army Cadets and Navy Midshipmen.

Kickoff is set for Saturday, December 12th at 3:00pm EST on CBS.

MIGHTY SPORTS

After losing her leg in Iraq, Army vet shares life on social media

The alarm goes off early, like it always does.

Melissa Stockwell has another busy day at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs where she’ll swim, run, bike, and go through strength training for hours on end.

Then, like most moms, it’s a rush to fit in as much family time with her husband and 2- and 4-year-old children as the clock allows: pick up the kids, take them to swim lessons, grab dinner, read them a story, and get them tucked into bed.

In between, she might send an inspirational photo or tweet to her 7,000-plus social media followers.

It’s not just the mom-athlete thing that makes Stockwell special.

She does it all with one leg.


Stockwell was an Army officer in Iraq when she lost her left leg in a roadside bomb. She competed in swimming in the 2008 Paralympic Games, won the bronze medal in triathlon for the 2016 Games, and is currently training with hopes of making the U.S. team for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

And people think she’s pretty rad.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Melissa Stockwell shows her Purple Heart certificate while still recovering in the hospital. She said there were others in the hospital worse off than her, so she didn’t feel sorry for herself.

“To the mailman who yelled out ‘you’re an American badass’ as I was on #6/10 of my hill repeats, thank you. You sure lit that fire for the last 4,” she tweeted out Aug. 16, 2019.

“There weren’t a lot of ‘poor me’ kind of days. I did my rehab at Walter Reed, and was surrounded by a lot of soldiers who lost a lot more than I did. It almost wasn’t fair to feel sorry for myself. I chose to accept my leg early on.” — Melissa Stockwell, discussing her recovery after losing her leg in Iraq

Stockwell is just as likely to post a video of herself training in the gym, a poolside photo with her prosthetic leg, or a poignant goodbye letter to her service dog, Jake, she lost last year. Plus, there are plenty of posts about her children and mom life.

“I just saw a mom grocery shopping with 2 sets of twins, and another boy who all looked to be under 6 years old. If I ever get overwhelmed with momming for two, I’ll remember her. Her and my sister with 5 kids. Ah, perspective… ” she tweeted recently.

Or this inspirational burst first thing in the day: “This morning I took a moment to look around and just appreciate being alive. Take some time to do that today, it’s a day changer.”

And on many Fridays, you can find her posing with Old Glory for a #FlagFriday post.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Army Veteran Melissa Stockwell typically posts photos of herself and her love of the American flag on her Twitter feed. “This is me,” she said. “This is the beauty of America.”

“I’m proud of our country, that’s all,” she said. “This is me. This is the beauty of America. We all get to think and choose what we want, whether or not we agree on what everyone says or how they express it. I’m going to choose to express myself this way, but that’s the beauty of our country.”

Whatever she posts, she said, it’s not for ego.

“I do the things in my life because I enjoy them,” Stockwell said. “I like to be busy. I like having dreams. I don’t do anything to impress anybody. I guess I do it so I can inspire someone else — if not for those who came before me, but those who came after who can think, ‘I can do this, also.’

“Look, I have hard days, too,” she added. “Not everyone is perfect. I post pictures of my kids and dreams because that makes it more real. If someone is having a hard day and sees my posts, maybe they’re a mom, maybe they’re having trouble with their kids, I want to inspire them that there’s always tomorrow.”

That’s pretty much been her attitude since April 13, 2004, when she lost her leg.

“There weren’t a lot of ‘poor me’ kind of days,” she said. “I did my rehab at Walter Reed, and was surrounded by a lot of soldiers who lost a lot more than I did. It almost wasn’t fair to feel sorry for myself. I chose to accept my leg early on.”

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Melissa Stockwell fits a lot into her day between family life and training. She posts regularly about her life for more than 7,000 followers on Twitter.

Getting into adaptive sports

Despite countless surgeries and infections, she took her first steps on her prosthetic leg 52 days after getting injured. Stockwell started adaptive sports and hasn’t looked back. She focused on the Paralympics after meeting fellow athlete and veteran John Register in 2005. She made the 2008 team, but didn’t medal.

“I learned that in life, sometimes the journey is more important than the destination,” she wrote on her web site. “And as I carried that American flag into that sold out Bird’s Nest Stadium at the closing ceremony, I had never been so proud. A proud American. And a proud Paralympian.”

Her friend, Keri Serota, said the Melissa Stockwell people see online, is the same in person.

“You know, I think what she does is amazing,” Serota said. “It’s hard not to be motivated, moved and inspired by Melissa. I always considered myself a proud American, but I learned more about what that means from Melissa. She makes you pause and realize what it means to be an American and why we have that freedom.

“But she’s also my best friend and I get to spend a lot of time with her and she has no ego. It’s this relatability. She has been in the room with all the living presidents, but she doesn’t take that for granted or have an ego about it. It’s very much Melissa. She can be with President Bush one day and buying ice cream for her kids the next day. She shares all of it — the highlights, lowlights, successes and losses. People, whether they know her or not, have that relationship with her because she is so impressive and exciting, but humble and grateful.”

She first met Bush after he invited her and other wounded Veterans to his ranch, and got to dance with him, a moment caught in an iconic photo shared around the world. She also gave the Pledge of Allegiance at his library opening.

“He’s amazing,” she said of the former president. “He is accountable for the actions taken while he was in office, and he has always gone above and beyond to show he has not forgotten the lives he impacted. I think that’s wonderful. That’s a pretty great man.”

Besides training, she also started the nonprofit Dare2Tri along with Serota and another friend, and signed endorsement deals with Toyota and Under Armour.

Back on the home front, beyond the training center and social media spotlight, Stockwell focuses on raising her son, Dallas, born in 2014; and daughter, Millie, born in 2017.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Melissa Stockwell posted a tweet of thanks to Barbie after her daughter got a doll with a prosthetic leg for her birthday.

“Sometimes I forget she is an amputee,” said her husband, Brian Tolsma. “She doesn’t let it define her, and she is so driven and motivated. She does a lot of things people with two legs can’t do.

“But it always goes back to the kids for me,” he said. “I know the regiment she does during the day, beating up her body daily to get faster, to reach that goal. Then she comes home and it’s just an abundance of energy and patience with the kids. She’s always going, and always has time for the kids, always coming up with new activities. That’s the most impressive thing about her.”

Millie recently celebrated her 2nd birthday. She received a Barbie Doll with a prosthetic leg from Serota, which also made its way to Stockwell’s Twitter page.

“It just shows kids we are just like anybody else,” she said. “Why can’t we have parties and dolls? Kids can play with them and see we are normal, no different,” Stockwell said.

And that’s why she doesn’t mind posting photos online or showing off her red, white and blue, American-themed prosthetic in public.

“If I can educate, I will,” she added. “I am proud to have worn the uniform. I’m proud of how I lost my leg. Plus, it’s really cool to look at. Technology has come so far, even in the past 10, 15 years. Veterans are coming back home and they’re young, they’re active.

“They’re going to continue to help advance the field of prosthetics because they aren’t going to take no for an answer.”

You can follow Melissa’s journey on her web site, Twitter and Facebook.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

Why I started my own GORUCK club

I have a secret to confess: I started a GORUCK club for selfish reasons.

There’s a perfectly good GORUCK club at GRHQ, only 4 miles from my home, and yet earlier this year I founded the GORUCK Mother Ruckers to serve my needs. And by needs I mean not getting into a car with my children unless I have to while maximizing time spent moving outdoors, with the option to bring my wards.


Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

As luck would have it, turns out that my needs are also the needs of others in my community. And by community I mean local moms in my neighborhood.

This is where we meet up, on a street corner that’s a stone’s throw from everyone’s homes. Easy, convenient, just ruck up and step out your front door.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Another thing that’s really great about our GORUCK club – and all GORUCK clubs for that matter – is that you only need a party of 2. Sure, it’s better with more folks and we take the more the merrier approach when it comes to people. We call it GORUCK Mother Ruckers not to be exclusive but because our GORUCK club is run by moms. It’s also cool to bring your kids, pets, and significant others (in no particular order) or just yourself if you happen to have lucked into some free alone time. Nothing reminds you how grateful you are to have a few moments of peace from your children than being next to another parent’s screaming kid.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Before kids, we used to workout more, sleep in more, and do less with that free time we never fully appreciated. Time is our most valuable resource, then and even more so now. We don’t have time to waste by stress-driving to make that gym or pilates class whenever the stars align for all kids to be healthy or cooperative. Somewhere floating in cyberspace is a graveyard of forgotten or unredeemed exercise classes that moms like me have decided just aren’t worth the hassle.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

And yet we know deep down that we as moms and as humans need to prioritize our physical and mental health. My friend Amy said it best the other day, that “women tend to have a lot of pulls and tugs on their time.” In her career as a cardiologist, she sees that “the health of women, in terms of the time to go do physical activity and exercise, gets deprioritized to the very end of the list, after checking off everything else we need to do for everyone else. There is also a social isolation, that you end up being so busy caring for folks around you and having your nose to the grindstone, that the idea that you’re gonna just kinda go hammer it out in the gym or on an exercise machine at home, sometimes just can be lonely.”

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

This is the not so lonely hearts club. After some sniffing and snack stealing attempts, we ruck south on our weekly pilgrimage in search of smoothies, fresh air, and cute pups of course.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

There once was a time when I ran a lot, in high school and in college and even for years after that, my favorite runs were with others or on my own to keep the cardio streak going. I still love running but dislike how fast my base erodes from an inconsistent life schedule. I also have a harder time finding someone to run with me when those unpredictable moments of freedom pop up. For some reason, probably having to do with that erodible base, when I ask my friends to go on a run with me, I don’t get a great response.

When I say, let’s go for a ruck and you can bring whoever you want and you pick the weight, I get more yesses. With rucking, the barrier for entry is lower and more accessible on many levels. On the level of not requiring a babysitter and also on being a scalable workout. We might move at kid pace but there are plenty of extra coupon carry opportunities along the way.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

And so we ruck on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Or just to the last street for a missing shoe.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

At last we reach the halfway point and it’s time to refuel the restless natives. These are before smoothie faces.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game
Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

And these are post smoothie smiles.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game
Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Sometimes the term selfish gets a bad rap, especially if by being selfish you really are trying to set yourself up for success to take care of others who need you, day after day, to be your best or close to it. It’s pretty empowering to prioritize yourself to the top of the list and then watch your fellow moms do the same: we can do it, better together, as neighbors and friends and parents and people.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

So what’s stopping you from joining a GORUCK club or starting your own?

This article originally appeared on GORUCK. Follow @GORUCK on Instagram.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Black Knights use Army-Navy uniform to tell story of division

When the players on the Army West Point football team take the field, they do so for more than themselves.

They represent the U.S. Military Academy and the generations of graduates who make up the Long Gray Line. They play for the U.S. Army and those who have fought and died protecting America. And each week during the season, they play for a particular division of the Army and the soldiers currently serving and who have served in it.

For most of the regular season, the division is honored by a patch on the back of the players’ helmets. But for the past three years during the Army-Navy Game, the Black Knights have honored one of the Army’s divisions by wearing an entire uniform telling the division’s story.


The new uniform tradition started with a design telling the story of the 82nd Airborne Division. So far, the 10th Mountain Division and 1st Infantry Division have also been honored.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

This year, Army will take the field in honor of the 1st Cavalry Division and tell the story of the soldiers’ role in the Vietnam War as America’s first airmobility division.

(Danny Wild, USA Today)

This year, Army will take the field in honor of the 1st Cavalry Division and tell the story of the soldiers’ role in the Vietnam War as America’s first airmobility division.

The 1st Cav’s role as the honored division was kept secret until the uniform was unveiled Dec. 5, 2019, in front of the assembled Corps of Cadets, but the process of designing the uniform for the game each year is an 18-month collaboration between Nike and West Point’s Department of History.

The cycle of divisions is decided three to four years in advance by West Point’s Athletic Department, and each design process starts about a year and a half out from the game. This year’s uniform hasn’t been unveiled yet, but most of the work is already done on 2020’s uniform and the process for 2021 will start to ramp up in the near future.

After the division is selected, step one of the process is determining the timeline that will be honored. For the 82nd Airborne it was World War II and for the 1st Infantry Division they highlighted World War I for the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice.

Then, Nike’s designer in partnership with the USMA history department starts doing research and crafting the story the uniform will tell.

“It is almost like a method actor preparing for a role,” Kristy Lauzonis, senior graphic designer for Nike college football uniforms, said. “I just go as deep as humanly possible with the research. I order books, read everything I can under the sun and then that is when I start hitting the history department back with all kinds of crazy questions.”

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

In 2017 Army represented the 10th Mountain Division with its Army Navy uniform.

(Photo by Cadet Henry Guerra)

With help from the Department of History, Lauzonis goes through photos and artifacts of the unit from the chosen timeline and starts working to craft a uniform that will authentically tell the story of the unit. Some elements are predetermined by NCAA rules such as whether the uniform is light or dark depending on if Army is home or away, but everything from colors of elements to fonts are built from scratch in order to make them historically accurate.

On the first uniform, the flag on the players’ shoulder may have looked backward to a casual observer, but it was placed the way it was worn in World War II. On the 10th Mountain Uniform, the popular Pando Commando logo wasn’t something created by Nike, but was instead a little used logo found during the research process. On last year’s uniforms, the Black Lions were to tell the story of the 28th Infantry Regiment and the first major combat for American forces in World War I.

“I think one of the great things about being authentic to history is you will have those moments like where you’ve done something where it is 100% authentic and people aren’t aware of it,” Lauzonis said. “That is that bonus element where everyone is saying the flag is backward and we are able to say it pre-existed flag code and this is exactly how it was worn on the uniform and we purposely did it that way. It is not just a company woops we flipped the flag the wrong way. We are never going to do that.”

Throughout the entire process, the USMA history department is fact checking elements on the uniform and making sure they accurately represent the division’s history and the timeline being depicted. That includes checking colors such as the red used in last year’s Big Red One on the helmet and making sure each insignia used is authentic and historically accurate.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

In 2016 the Black Knights honored the 82nd Airborne Division.

(US Army photo)

“We provide historical context and then of course, the Nike designers are amazing,” Steve Waddell, an assistant professor in the Department of History, said. “They’ve got to kind of translate a historical idea concept to actually make it work on a real uniform and have the color contrasts and everything work … I’m a World War II historian and we did the 82nd Airborne for the first one. It’s just exciting that they’re tying the sport of football to military history and military history is always popular.”

Along with assisting in the uniform design, the USMA history department helps tell the story of the uniform and the division through the athletic department’s microsite, which is created as part of the unveil each year.

There the elements of the uniform are explained, and the story of the division is told in detail.

“The Army’s business is people,” Capt. Alexander Humes, an instructor in the Department of History, said. “That’s why it’s also important to tell the story of this unit and the people that were part of this unit and to take this as an opportunity to do that. This presents the Army a great opportunity in something as highly visible as the Army-Navy Game to be able to tell its story to the American public.”

This year’s uniform pulls elements from the 1st Cav’s Vietnam War era uniforms and the pants were designed to resemble the motif of the UH-1 “Hueys” the soldiers flew during the war.

“I hope that for the folks that are in or have a relationship to the unit, that they feel like their story is being told authentically,” Lauzonis said of her goal when designing the uniform each year. “That they feel like they now have something they can wear with pride and that we’ve done right by them with the storytelling.”

The annual rivalry game against the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis will take place Dec. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Top 10 March Madness Buzzer Beaters

Today is probably the most bittersweet day for sport fans during this coronavirus outbreak. Yes, it’s a worldwide emergency. Yes, it is serious. Yes, there are way more important things to be upset about right about now.

But for many Americans, today should have been the best non-work workday of the year.

It’s officially March Sadness.

March Madness was supposed to start today.


You know what I’m talking about. Your boss thinks you are staring intently at your computer working away, when you are, in fact, staring intently at four different games on your screen.

You tell your coworkers to get into the conference room as ‘we need to go over the figures’, which means that you are comparing brackets out of sight of your non-cool coworkers. You try to convince your boss that having the games on the big TV will actually improve productivity. You almost have an aneurysm because the girl in accounting that picked her bracket based on which mascot is ‘cuter’ is kicking your well thought-out and researched bracket’s ass.

But instead, we are sitting at home learning how important teachers are, having no excuse to avoid the honey do list, and wondering how things could have been.

The Washington Post decided to run a simulation and the results gave my beloved alma mater (THEE Ohio State Buckeyes) the national championship. I know, a fan should not claim a simulated chip, but I am still having a t-shirt made. Instead of shutting down beaches, the government of Florida spent its time passing a resolution claiming that Florida State won.

It is a sad day for sports fans. But it is ok. This means we will appreciate next year’s tournament (and the kids who play all-out in it) that much more. Next year’s “One Shining Moment” will be one for the ages.

A consolation… Here are 10 of the best buzzer beaters in NCAA Tournament history. Enjoy the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and the joy that something as trivial as throwing a ball in a hoop can bring many of us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=5ktjk9HsnMA&feature=emb_title
March Madness Buzzer Beater – 2006 Northwestern State vs Iowa

www.youtube.com

Northwestern State over Iowa

In 2006, in the first round of the tournament, Northwestern State (14) was playing Iowa (3). In the end, Jermaine Wallace threw up a 3 from the corner as he fell off the court. The Iowa players looked stunned and defeated, only to realize they themselves could have a miracle moment—only to miss and crash out of the tourney.

U. S. Reed 49 Foot Shot to beat Louisville 1981

www.youtube.com

Ulysses “US” Reed’s half-court shot

The Houston Cougars were playing the Louisville Cardinals in a slugfest that would take the winner into the Sweet 16. In what can easily be called the “prayer of all prayers”, Ulysses “US” Reed threw up a wild attempt from half court and sunk it. Louisville’s hopes of a title died an inglorious death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=22&v=YrBHtC2mR9E&feature=emb_title
March Madness Buzzer Beater – 1998 Connecticut vs Washington

www.youtube.com

UConn over Washington

UConn was favored and a 2 seed when it played 11 seed Washington in this match-up which would send the winner into the Elite 8. Richard Hamilton was a stud for UConn and showed us why. As the clock ran down and UConn missed attempt after attempt, Hamilton got his own rebound and, while falling, sunk the winner to advance the Huskies.

Northern Iowa vs. Texas: Paul Jesperson half-court buzzer-beater

www.youtube.com

UNI over Texas

If there is one thing that March Madness has taught us, it is that you play until the end regardless of how improbable the outcome will be. Texas was playing Northern Iowa in its first match up of the tourney and made a late bucket to tie it. The Longhorns seemed not to expect much of a response from the Panthers and played pretty loose. Northern Iowa’s Paul Jesperson took the ball to half court and sent heartbreak and despair deep into the heart of Texas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=2Rm_eAiV4dA&feature=emb_title
1998: The Bryce Drew Shot – Valpo upsets Ole Miss

www.youtube.com

Bryce Drew kills the Rebels

Valparaiso had a decent basketball program back in the 90s under legendary coach Homer Drew. But not too many people expected them to beat 4 seed Ole Miss when they played in the 1998 tournament. Drew’s son Bryce got the ball and launched a 3, and Valpo shocked the world.

N.C. State 54 – Houston 52 (1983)

www.youtube.com

Don’t Give Up, Never Give Up

With one of the all-time “I meant to pass it” moments in sports, the NC State Wolfpack won the national title over Houston when Lorenzo Charles snatched a last second airball and laid up the game winner at the buzzer. The game was legendary, and the images of the late NC State coach Jim Valvano running around looking for someone to hug is one of the most iconic moments in sports history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=4DD2fEEVVMk&feature=emb_title
YouTube

www.youtube.com

Laettner’s forgotten shot

With a trip to the Final Four on the line, Duke found themselves up against UConn (who had advanced previously with a buzzer beater of their own – see below). In what is probably the most obvious foreshadowing ever, the announcer states; “This is interesting, UConn is not playing the passer.” The passer was only Christian Laettner, who was only the best college basketball player in the country. Laettner inbounded the ball, got it right back and sunk a buzzer beater that would be forgotten because he would end up with a better one than this (see below).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=suG5MRdHmSI&feature=emb_title
1990: UConn’s Tate George beats Clemson in final seconds

www.youtube.com

Tate George

In what is probably the longest second in history, Tate George propelled UConn over Clemson for a berth in the Elite 8. There is nothing about this that makes sense. The time on the clock, the long pass throwing George off balance, and the now off-balance George spinning wildly and launching a prayer… all in under a second. March Madness indeed.

Christian Laettner hits THE SHOT

www.youtube.com

Laettner’s shot

This is the one you remember. It is about as iconic of a moment in college basketball as there ever could be. Duke vs Kentucky in overtime. Kentucky up by one with 2.1 seconds left. A trip to the Final Four at stake. Grant Hill throws the football pass (his dad played in the NFL) to Laettner standing at the foul line. Laettner grabs it, dribbles, spins and shoots and ………well here’s Chris Farley to tell you.

Villanova vs. North Carolina: Kris Jenkins shot wins national title

www.youtube.com

Villanova’s Crying Jordan buzzer beater

UNC had just shot a 3-pointer to tie the game. Villanova ran a play to win it in regulation. Running down the court, they had a set play and it worked perfectly. Kris Jenkins runs up the middle of the court, grabs the pass, launches a three pointer that he knew would go in. Jenkins would later say, “I think every shot will go in, and this one was no different.” But it was. This one was the greatest buzzer beater in NCAA Tournament history.

Tell us which of these (or any others) March Madness moments were your favorites!

MIGHTY SPORTS

Here’s the best part of using a personal trainer

Tony Schy is a 48-year-old dad of a college-bound son and a daughter who is about to start sophomore year of high school. About a year and a half ago, Tony, who works as an executive coach, decided to go to the gym and get a personal trainer. He had never worked out with much consistency and wanted to make a different effort. What happened next changed his life. Here, Tony talks about the mental benefits of being able to have someone make all your fitness decisions for you, and why working out has helped him bond with his kids in new ways.

I’ve been working out with a personal trainer since the beginning of 2018. Part of the reason I started to work out was that I wasn’t the kind of person that exercised on any regular basis, so it was a good way to get started. There’s a very big difference between doing an exercise correctly and incorrectly. It’s the difference between getting hurt and not getting hurt. So being with a personal trainer helped me learn correct form and build a little bit of confidence.


I would say that I’m the typical middle-aged dad where you just slowly gain a little bit of weight every year. Most people don’t wake up and say “I’m 70 pounds overweight! How did that happen?” But you know, you gain one to two pounds a year over a decade, and all the sudden you’re overweight pretty fast. My weight just kept creeping up and creeping up and basically, I had just had enough. And it was the right timing. My wife went back to the gym. So I said, I have to do something here.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

The first six weeks, I’d go to the gym, my heart rate would get up, and I’d leave the gym after the workout I’d have to go horizontal for a few minutes when I got home. My heart rate would still be really high by the time I got home 20 minutes later.

But once I got past that, I really started to enjoy it. So I’d say it was about six weeks before that started to subside a little bit — and that’s when I could tell I was starting to feel better overall, and I began to actually enjoy my exercise and crave it a little bit, especially after taking a few days off at the gym.

Then something started to dawn on me. About six months into it, I realized that the trainer would ask me if I wanted to do this workout or that workout, and I started to realize that I didn’t care what workout I did. I just want to come in there and have him tell me what to do.

I almost always work out in the late afternoon or early evening. As an executive coach, at that point, I’ve had a full day of coaching people and making decisions. I’m mentally spent, so to speak. So to me, it’s a huge benefit for me just to walk into the gym and not be the one running the show, like I typically do with my work. So, I can just come in and do what I’m told. I lift heavy things.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

(Photo by Arthur Edelman)

I do the reps my personal trainer tells me to do; I do the type of exercise my personal trainer tells me to do. I do not question it. I’ve come up with this theory that this appeals to people like me that are accustomed to making lots of decisions during the day. I can effectively get ‘decision fatigue.’ I don’t know if there’s any science behind this, but I know that there are a certain number of decisions that you can make in a day.

Once you use them all up, you don’t have any more left. Anyway, that’s my theory, and that’s why I love going to a personal trainer.

Beyond the mental benefits, obviously there have been physical changes as well. This time last year, I decided that I would change the way I eat. When I did that, the weight came off. Since then, I’ve lost 80 pounds. Now, I’m down to the size that I was when I was a junior in high school, and I was probably in better shape now than I was then. I’ve completely turned my life around from a physical point of view.

That really comes out in just doing the simple things. My kids like to do high ropes courses and zip lines. Those things are no problem anymore. I can keep up with them, and sometimes I’m faster than them! It’s broadened the level of things I feel comfortable doing, whether it’s rock climbing or hiking with my kids. It’s broadened the range of things that I do. That makes me feel really good.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY SPORTS

After Action Report #4: A Special Forces vet picks his NFL performers of the week

Stats? Projections? F$%k that noise. Numbers can’t guarantee wins, but being as tough as nails sure helps. As the 2018 NFL Season enters its third week and fantasy football fans continue to debate advanced metrics, the veterans at We Are The Mighty are taking a different approach to finding the best players across the league.

This week, our team of self-declared fair-weather fans scouted the NFL to find the players worthy of serving on one the military’s most elite units: the Army Special Forces — Operational Detachment Alpha, known exclusively as the “A-Team.”

A Special Forces team is full of quiet professionals, each of whom has a set of unique, special skills, ranging from demolitions to weapons to communications. Earning your place on a Special Forces team takes training, time, and a little luck, but it ultimately comes down to one simple question: Can you perform under pressure?


This results-based mentality is exactly the same approach used by NFL players across the league and, in the season’s opening week, five players have distinguished themselves worthy of making the inaugural “A Team Report.” Some earned this distinguished honor by breaking records while others made the list via sheer, viking-level badassery. Either way, all the players on this week’s A-Team Report stepped up when it mattered.

Here are this week’s picks:

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

(National Football League)

Quarterback C.J. Beathard — San Francisco 49ers

QB C.J. Beathard executes a clean, strategic fake for a touchdown.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

(National Football League)

Tight End Vance McDonald — Pittsburgh Steelers

TE Vance McDonald smashes through the defense, staying on his feet as he drags the opponent with him.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

(National Football League)

Running Back Royce Freeman — Denver Broncos

RB Royce Freeman holds not a second too long before exploding through to the endzone.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

(National Football League)

Tight End Trey Burton — Chicago Bears

TE Trey Burton slides into the endzone on his knees for the first touchdown of the game.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

(National Football League)

Wide Receiver Michael Gallup — Dallas Cowboys

Rookie WR Michael Gallup goes flying, but holds onto the ball to make the catch for a 30+ yard gain.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Why you should play sports if you want to be a fighter pilot

Looking back, sports prepared me for flying fighters more than anything else. You develop thick skin playing sports—you learn how to lose, how to accept criticism, how to prepare, how to handle pressure; you grow you in a way that’s difficult to find outside of sports. Different sports teach different attributes, particularly team versus individual ones, but they all have parallels to what we do in the air.

Team sports, as the name implies, teach teamwork—you learn how to work together to build trust. As a group, you must come together to accomplish a shared vision; often with people who come from completely different backgrounds. It is a complex, messy process that doesn’t have a set formula. I played baseball, all the way from t-ball throughout high school and each year we would try to build a cohesive, effective team—failing as often as we succeeded. It was practice though. By the time I got to my first fighter squadron, I had been a part of probably 30 teams. It was easier to integrate, find my role, and start contributing than if I hadn’t had my sports background.

fighter pilot
You may be alone in the cockpit, but teamwork is still essential.

Another attribute I learned is situational leadership. As my skill and experience grew relative to the team I was on, my leadership style had to change. As a freshman in high school and one of the weaker players, my job was to shut up, work hard, and do the jobs the other players didn’t want to do. By the time I was a senior, I was one of the better players and a captain on the team. Part of my job was to hold people accountable, which meant being more assertive.

As a fighter pilot, after you spend four years becoming an officer, two years in pilot training, and a year learning to fly your fighter, you’ll show up to your first squadron and your primary job will be to stock the snack bar. Just like the new freshman on a sports team, the best thing you can do is shut up, learn your job, and volunteer for the tasks no-one else wants to do. As your skill and experience grow relative to the other pilots, your leadership style will have to evolve. 

Preparation is another trait I learned. Similar to being a fighter pilot, in sports the vast majority of your time is spent training. While boxing at the Air Force Academy, we would spend hours each day preparing for a six-minute fight. The training, in most cases, lagged the results, often by months. If you didn’t wake up at 5AM for your daily morning run, no-one would know until fight day when you were exhausted by the time you got to the third round.

fighter pilot
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Griffin)

Flying fighters is similar. We train for years before we go into combat. As a multi-role, single seat fighter pilot, there is always something you could be better at. The learning never stops. We have thousands of pages of tactics to memorize and with closure rates averaging a mile every three-seconds, it has to be instinctive by the time you get to combat. 

The most important attribute sports taught me was mental toughness—how to thrive in a high pressure environment. As a boxer you’re in the ring alone. No-one else can help you. If you’re distracted and having a bad day, you can get hurt. Leading up to the fight, you know there is an opponent working his hardest to knock you out in front of your friends and family.

At the Air Force Academy, we would have sports psychologists from the Olympic training center make the 15 minute drive to work with us. They taught us visualization, positive self-talk, and how to stay in the present moment. While the stakes are much higher now—we not only have our own lives to worry about, but our wingmen, other airborne assets, and the troops on the ground—I still find myself using what they taught me on a daily basis.

Sports are a training ground for your mind and body. They allow you to grow in a simplistic environment, under pressure, with short feedback cycles. You learn that through deliberate practice you will improve. Having had a chance to instruct many F-16 and F-35 pilots, the better ones usually have a sports background. It doesn’t matter if they were a star, or if they only played in high school—the important thing is they have the tools to get better each flight while contributing to the squadron. 

Make sure to check out Justin Lee’s podcast, The Professionals Playbook!

Feature image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Team gets kicked out of Military World Games for ‘extensive cheating’

A Chinese team got kicked out of the Military World Games in China after accusations of “extensive cheating” from six European nations.

On Oct. 21, 2019, China took gold, silver, and fourth place in the women’s Middle Distance orienteering challenge in Wuhan, as well as silver in the men’s event.

But their celebrations were short-lived.

“The Middle Distance competition was unfortunately overshadowed by extensive cheating by the Chinese team,” the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) said in a press release.


The IOF said it was “discovered and proven” that Chinese runners “received illegal assistance both by spectators in the terrain, markings, and small paths prepared for them and which only they were aware of.”

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

The U.S. Armed Forces Sports team marches during opening ceremonies for the 2019 CISM Military World Games in Wuhan, China Oct. 18, 2019.

(DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

The national teams of Russia, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Poland, and Austria submitted a formal complaint, and the jury disqualified everyone in the home orienteering team.

Business Insider contacted The People’s Liberation Army and China’s Ministry of Defense for comment, but is yet to receive a response.

The IOF said it rejected an appeal from China.

Athletes from Russia’s military were then awarded gold in both the men’s and women’s event.

Orienteering is a foot race involving small teams, who use a compass and map to navigate a path through complex terrain to a finish line.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

The logo and mascot for the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China.

(YouTube/CISM)

The Military World Games are an annual event which see several armed forces compete in a variety of summer and winter sports.

This year’s event ran from Oct. 18 to Oct. 27, 2019, and was opened with a ceremony attended by Chinese president Xi Jinping.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY FIT

Fantasy Football After Action Report: Week 11

An assembly of trusty vets round out this week’s Blue chip medals and the Badass hit of the week.


https://twitter.com/JennaCottrell/statuses/1196138138156126208
That is playing fearless. Josh Allen with the bomb to John Brown #Billspic.twitter.com/oj1k7EoT1Z

twitter.com

Blue chip medal

John Brown, WR, Bills- Introducing your top fantasy scorer of week 11— John Brown. Brown is the best-kept secret in fantasy football, and an absolute stalwart of consistency. He is the only player in the NFL with at least 50 receiving yards in every game (putting him at 9.5+ in every single game). The only problem with Brown? His schedule includes ball-hawking secondaries down the stretch, including Pittsburgh and New England.

Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens- Ingram took the stand in his post-game press conference Sunday and basically said he’d toe-up with anybody who doesn’t think Lamar Jackson is an MVP. Very few people would take up that fight (maybe Russel Wilson would… or Ciara). However, Jackson should say the same about Ingram being a pro bowl RB. Ingram is the 12th highest scorer in running backs and a staple of the most dangerous offense in the NFL.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints- Michael Thomas just quietly broke the record for most receptions through 10 games in NFL history. He’s on pace to beat the single-season reception record, and is obviously a PPR wet dream. Just listen to his last four fantasy outings: 25.4, 28.2, 27.3, and 22.1…. Need to take a cold shower after that.

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys- Well that annoying dude you went to basic with is finally right, the Cowboys have a quarterback who could throw for 400 yards. Dak threw for 444 and put up 31.6 fantasy points this last week en route to a stellar stretch of fantasy games. He has weapons, an offensive line, and a dynamite running back—sky is the limit for Dak come fantasy playoffs.

https://twitter.com/Kofie/statuses/1196241779751837696
Mitch Trubisky and Jared Goff when they realize someone has to win the gamepic.twitter.com/u1SBcVfYqZ

twitter.com

Loss of rank

Jared Goff, QB, Rams- The Rams are broken. Much like a femme fatale in an old noir flick, Goff secured his bag (4 years for 4 million) and immediately went missing. He looks confused, lethargic, and does not have the lethal running attack of yesteryear to float his poor play. He’s still owned in ~70% of ESPN leagues, while plenty of more viable options float around unclaimed.

Latavius Murray, RB, Saints- Murray’s streak of dominance in Kamara’s absence is over, and it is time for Murray to retreat back to the loamy fringes of deep 14 team league lineups. Murray is a talented downfield running back, but simply doesn’t have the opportunities moving forward to put up any kind of viable numbers, save for a vulture goalline TD here and there.

Devin Singletary, RB, Bills- Singletary has become a roster staple across the league, if only because of the shallow RB pool this year. It seems like he’s a consistent presence for starting rosters across ESPN, but after posting back to back single-digit performances against the Browns and the Dolphins (dis-respectfully), there are more promising backs floating around.

Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins- Well, the “Scary Terry” reign has ended as abruptly and disappointingly as his NBA counterpart “Scary” Terry Rozier’s did. He’s put up nothing but single-digit efforts since week 6. Barring injury, Haskins is going to be under center moving forward, which does not help his case.

Crazy circus catch by Deebo Samuel. (via @akashanav)pic.twitter.com/AqmP57GCze

twitter.com

Promotion watch

Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers- Samuel may be the most potent weapon in Jimmy G’s arsenal. Don’t buy it? Peep Deebo’s absolutely insane catch above. Outside of his catch-of-the-year caliber grab, he’s got back to back 19+ point games against fierce secondaries in Seattle and Arizona. He’s available in about 70% of leagues, and is worth a waiver while pickings are slim.

Ryan Griffin, TE, Jets- Griffin made use of a massive opportunity in Herndon’s injury. He had five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. He had multiple red zone targets from Darnold and, in a time when tight ends are at an insane premium, could be a viable option down the stretch.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons- Calvin Ridley is giving fellow ex-Alabama receiver Julio Jones some serious relief. When Jones draws double coverage and key safety attention, Ridley is punishing secondaries for not spreading the attention. It makes for a teeter-totter of production between the two receivers— but Atlanta’s offense is too much of a playground to ignore.

Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys- Gallup is trending upwards in fantasy production. Gallup is benefitting from lining up on the opposite side of Amari Cooper in the same way that Ridley benefits from playing alongside Julio Jones— he is able to torch the weaker coverage defensive backs. Gallup has put up three double-digit fantasy performances in a row and could be on a major upswing.

Nick Bosa, meet Larry Fitzgeraldpic.twitter.com/Q4NXIG2AnL

twitter.com

Badass hit of the week

Larry Fitzgerald

A really fun NFL fun fact: Fitzgerald has more career tackles than drops. Another fun NFL fun fact: that old man will still lay you out. Fitzgerald crack blocked the young phenom Nick Bosa in a poetic stroke of old school’s undying grip on all things tough. “Ok Boomer…”

MIGHTY CULTURE

Meet the 100-year-old veteran who is having the best week ever

Charles McGee is having quite a week. McGee, who was part of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, was one of four 100-year-old veterans to participate in the Super Bowl LIV coin flip on Sunday in Miami. He was also honored Tuesday night at the State of the Union address with a promotion to Brigadier General. And you thought you were having a good week.


McGee, who looked rather spry at the game, walked the ceremonial coin to referee Bill Vinovich for the official toss. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, McGee flew to Washington, D.C. to attend the State of the Union address as an official guest of President Trump alongside his 13-year-old great-grandson who wants to join the Space Force.

Iain Lanphier from Scottsdale, Arizona is the great-grandson of Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee. Iain hopes to write the next chapter in his family’s remarkable story by attending the Air Force Academy and eventually going to space. #SOTUpic.twitter.com/GA6W2whvrV

twitter.com

Lauded tonight as a Tuskegee Airman, 100 year old retired Brigadier General Charles McGee was promoted to that rank today by President Trump and invited to be his guest in House Gallery tonight for the #SOTUpic.twitter.com/uiIIEtOdRD

twitter.com

President Trump honored McGee by naming him Brigadier General for his impeccable service. The promotion was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and passed by both the House and the Senate. Just three days after McGee turned 100 (which he celebrated by flying in a jet), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said in a press release, “Col. Charles McGee’s service to our country is remarkable and fully merits this distinguished honor. I was proud to fight for the inclusion of this promotion to commemorate his work and his sacrifice … I could not think of a more fitting recognition from a truly grateful nation.”

Lauded tonight as a Tuskegee Airman, 100 year old retired Brigadier General Charles McGee was promoted to that rank today by President Trump and invited to be his guest in House Gallery tonight for the #SOTUpic.twitter.com/uiIIEtOdRD

twitter.com

McGee is one of the most celebrated aviators in history, having completed 136 combat missions in World War II, 100 combat missions in the Korean War and 173 combat missions in the Vietnam War. That’s 409 total combat missions if you’re not doing the math. Watch McGee’s Super Bowl appearance here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCKmPQ_KJ2o

www.youtube.com

Congratulations, Sir!

MIGHTY SPORTS

USAA has a special lounge at every Super Bowl for the military

The Super Bowl is known for a lot of things, but giving out free access isn’t one of them. For military members, veterans, and their families, the experience might be a little different. USAA, as a financial institution, isn’t just a major partner of the NFL — they’re integral to the league’s Salute to Service every November, and USAA is determined to give its members a chance to take part.


For those who have never been to the NFL’s biggest game, part of the experience is literally The NFL Experience. For days prior to Super Bowl Sunday, the league puts on a huge, open forum featuring player appearances, giveaways, games, food, and fun, along with a chance to kick a field goal, throw a touchdown pass, run the 40-meter dash (or the entire combine), and even play as an actual player through virtual reality.

Even if you don’t have tickets to the Big Game, the NFL experience is only , half that for USAA members. Best of all, military service members get a little something extra from their experience – all for free.

USAA has its own little corner of the NFL Experience called the Salute to Service Lounge, and it’s open to anyone with a Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs identification card. In this special room, attendees can sit, relax, enjoy free snacks and drinks.

Oh, and they get to listen to current and former NFL players talk about their time on the gridiron, answer any and all questions from their military fans, and even pose for photos, sign autographs, and shake hands — all at no cost. They all just want to do the most for the U.S. Military and its NFL fans, and they show it all year long, not just during Salute to Service Month.

Almost all the players who came to visit USAA’s Salute to Service Lounge also teamed up with USAA and other partners to donate tickets to the big game to a service member or their family.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

NFL legend Roger Staubach (left) chats with WATM’s own August Dannehl

The 2019 Salute to Service Lounge saw NFL legend and Naval Academy graduate Roger Staubach come by and spend time with fans. Current Falcons Coach Dan Quinn and Atlanta Falcons Guard Ben Garland stopped by the lounge to talk about highlighting the military community and what it’s like to host a Super Bowl without being part of it.

Quinn and USAA teamed up to get tickets to the big game for the family of Marine Corps Pvt. 1st Class Zachary R. Boland, who died in 2016 during training at Parris Island. Garland, a former player for the Air Force Falcons, was this year’s Salute to Service Winner.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Colorado Air National Guardsman and Atlanta Falcons Guard, Ben Garland.

Also visiting the USAA Salute to Service lounge this year (who also visited USAA’s Super Bowl LII Salute to Service Lounge in Minneapolis in 2018) was the Arizona Cardinals’ future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. This year, Fitzgerald honored fellow Cardinal Pat Tillman during the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” Campaign, which benefited the Tillman Foundation. He has a very close connection to the military, as he comes from a military family and wanted something to reflect his family’s service as well as Tillman’s.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Kirk Cousins answers some fans’ questions at the USAA Salute to Service Lounge

Other visitors to the lounge were Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, and former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas.

These NFL players and the many, many others like them are regular faces at USAA’s annual Super Bowl Salute to Service Lounge. They spend all season honoring military members past and present but make it a big point to show their military fans how much they’re appreciated.

MIGHTY SPORTS

Fitness test is only one part of Army’s new health push

While the Army Combat Fitness Test will be the largest overhaul in assessing a soldier’s physical fitness in nearly 40 years, it is just one part of the Army’s new health push, says the service’s top holistic health officer.

This month, the entire Army will begin taking the diagnostic ACFT — with all active-duty soldiers taking two tests, six months apart, and Reserve and National Guard soldiers taking it once. Then, a year later, the six-event, gender- and age-neutral test is slated to become the Army’s official physical fitness test of record.

To best prepare for the test, Army leaders encourage soldiers to take an integrated health approach to their training regimen.


Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Sgt. Steven J. Clough, battalion medical liaison with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, performs a deadlift during an Army Combat Fitness Test in San Francisco, Calif., July 21, 2019. Clough, who serves as a master fitness trainer for the battalion and is a level three certified grader for the ACFT, has been helping prepare the battalion for the new test.

(Photo by Spc. Amy Carle)

Holistic health and fitness

The integrated approach, Holistic Health and Fitness — known as H2F — is a multifaceted strategy to not only ace the ACFT, but improve soldier individual wellness, said Col. Kevin Bigelman, director of Holistic Health and Fitness at the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training.

The well-rounded components of H2F include: physical training, proper sleep and nutrition, and mental and spiritual readiness.

These pillars are “similar to a house,” Bigelman said. Meaning that, each element of a house — the roof, walls, floor, etc. — are equally essential for its prosperity, like how each aspect of H2F is critical to combat readiness, and having success on the ACFT.

However, the gravity of H2F transcends the ACFT, which falls into the physical aspect, and has become “a culture change within the Army,” Bigelman said.

“H2F is changing the way soldiers view themselves,” he added. “It is made up of both physical and nonphysical domains, wrapping them into a single governance structure.”

The initiative, originally announced in 2017, was designed to enhance soldier lethality by rolling up various domains of health to complement each other and prepare soldiers for future warfare, he said.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Amy Carle)

Properly trained

The Army’s most important weapon system is its soldiers, he said. So, to overmatch the enemy in multi-domain operations, Soldiers must demonstrate the superior physical fitness required for combat by training properly in all aspects of holistic fitness, including the ACFT.

The ACFT will provide “a snapshot of the strength, power, agility, coordination, balance, anaerobic capacity, and aerobic capacity of a soldier,” Bigelman said. Limited in scope, “the current APFT doesn’t fully measure the total lethality of a soldier how the ACFT does.”

Due to this, soldiers should train the way they’ll be tested, Bigelman said.

“The ACFT measures all the domains of physical fitness,” said Dr. Whitfield East, a research physiologist at CIMT. “Soldiers should train based on those standards.”

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

California National Guard Soldiers with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion complete the Sprint Drag Carry event during an Army Combat Physical Fitness test

Be well rested

The best training plan is ineffective without adequate sleep, Bigelman said, adding, “You’re not going to perform as best you can, physically, on the ACFT if your sleep is incorrect.”

Neglecting sleep can take a negative toll on the body. Sleeplessness can affect performance during high-intensity workouts, like the ACFT, he said. In addition, it can affect a soldier’s mood, their hormone and stress levels, and it doesn’t let the body fully recover or repair its muscles.

Adequate sleep can improve productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, the immune system, and vitality, according to the National Institutes of Health.

For maximum optimization, officials encourage soldiers to get at least eight hours of sleep.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Spc. Melisa G. Flores, a paralegal specialist with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, performs a leg-tuck during an Army Combat Physical Fitness test hosted at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California, July 21, 2019. Flores, who has competed in the Best Warrior competition and won recognition for fitness, said the ACFT has challenged her in new ways.

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Amy Carle)

Eat right

Nutrition is a vital component of training, said Maj. Brenda Bustillos, a dietician at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. “How we get up and feel in the morning, how we recover from exercise, how we utilize energy throughout the day” is all optimized through understanding, and implementing, proper nutrition.

Proper nutritional habits will “enhance a soldier’s ability to perform at their fullest potential,” she added.

Regarding the ACFT, soldiers “should always train to fight,” Bustillos said, and they should do more than “Eat properly the night before an ACFT.” Proper nutrition should not be viewed as a diet, but as a lifestyle choice.

That said, nourishment immediately before an ACFT is also important. “Soldiers should never start the day on an empty tank,” she said.

Exclusive interview with ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson: Spurs, service and the Navy-Army game

Spc. Melisa G. Flores, a paralegal specialist with the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, receives coaching from a grader about the proper form for hand-release push-ups during an Army Combat Physical Fitness test hosted at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California, July 21, 2019.

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Amy Carle)

Clear your mind

When you toe the line on test day, it’s natural to feel anxiety, East said. Before the stopwatch starts, soldiers should clear their minds, take a deep breath, and try thinking positively.

As common as anxiety is, he said, confidence is built by properly preparing for the ACFT. For example, soldiers should not start training a week before their test or else their mental fitness can be as affected as any other component of holistic health.

In addition, during the months leading up to a test date, soldiers should do mock tests to know where they stand. These small steps can be giant leaps for an individual’s mental fitness, he said.

Soldiers cannot perform “as best as they can physically” on the ACFT without implementing a holistic approach, Bigelman said.

With soldiers expected to train harder to meet readiness goals, experts are available to them, he said, noting that physical therapists, athletic trainers, and other professionals can now be found at most brigade and battalion levels to take their training to the next level.

This article originally appeared on United States Army. Follow @USArmy on Twitter.