WASHINGTON—Instead of the sounds of footsteps from military dress shoes or high heels, the corridors of the Pentagon were filled with the excited chants of West Point cadets, Friday morning.
Before the athletes of the United States Military Academy and Naval Academy football teams hit the field Saturday for the 118th time, their cheer teams and bands visited those serving in the Pentagon this week to bring some pride to the Department of Defense.
The Navy’s pep team met with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence, Thursday afternoon.
The Army team is the defending champion this year after a previous 14-game drought against Navy.
“These men and women represent the entire Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipman — an amazingly talented group of young leaders who have volunteered to serve their Nation,” said Brig. Gen. Omar Jones, chief of Army Public Affairs, in an email.
Brig. Gen. Jones is a member of the West Point Class of 1992.
“We look forward to a great game on Saturday and another strong Army victory. It will be great to see the Corps “sing second” again this year!”
The cadets performed at several locations in the Pentagon, making their way to the corridor of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Mark Milley, who added his own noise to the cheers after getting ahold of some cymbals.
He was joined by Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey, Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, and Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper, West Point Class of 1986.
“So we’re going to go and kick their butts this weekend, right?” said Esper, to loud cheers of those standing in the hallway.
After leading the cadets in a few “Go Army! Beat Navy!” chants with Esper, Milley granted amnesty to any cadet who still had ‘hours’ (punishment for minor misconduct) adding, “that’s only if we win.”
Esper then corrected the general by saying “that’s only when we win,” earning cheers from the cadets.
The cadets and Army leadership then headed to the Navy executive area to give them a little a taste of Army pride. Under Secretary of the Navy and U.S Naval Academy Class of 1983, Thomas Modly, greeted the crowd outside his office.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be my first Army-Navy game as the Under and it’s always been a fantastic time,” he said.
“And as a Midshipman, that Army week was the greatest, one of the greatest weeks of the year. We always had so much fun. And at the end of the day, we’re all on the same team.”