U.S. Army/AF commanders gamble Europe's future on football game

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We’re just kidding, of course. Two high-ranking officers would never, ever bet anything more than a beer over a football game. Right?

Here’s Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, head of U.S. Army Europe, and Gen. Mark Welsh, head of U.S. Air Forces Europe, making a made-for-AFN Army-Air Force spirit spot ahead of this Saturday’s game. It’s kitschy and the fake, jovial battle over the football at the end is just painful to watch.

We at After Action hate to republish such a spot. We’d much rather see the ones made by cadets or the soldiers and airmen in the field. But unless we’re missing something on YouTube, this is the only spirit spot floating out there. Are we missing something? If so, send them to mhoffman@atpco.com. We’d love to put them on the blog.

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  1. Well, the cadets at USAFA consider NAVY to be their real rivals, since they pretty much pound on ARMY so often that the game’s just not as exciting as the NAVY game. From the few ARMY cadets and grads I’ve come into contact with, the sentiment is the opposite. Their football team has been bad for so long that the average cadet doesn’t really care about the game that much since they’re pretty much expecting to lose.

    Also, I’m not sure how West Point is, but there is HUGE cynicsm felt towards football games (and athletes) by the cadet population at USAFA. Cadets have few weekends to call their own, and half of their fall Saturdays are spent on being forced to go to games that many of them do not wish to attend. Add to that the fact that about 400 dollars is garnished from their paychecks over the course of the season to pay for the tickets of games that they are forced to attend. Finally, football athletes tend to be way hyped up by the academy leadership (both the Dean and Commondant are former USAFA football players) as being both role model cadets and the “representation of the air force academy”. Meanwhile, many football players get HUGE leeway when it comes to academics, discipline, and regular military duties. Football players are often given passes for serious USAFA rule violations that would see regular students kicked out, and are retained with very low GPA’s which would doom the career of a normal cadet. Add to that the fact that recruited football cadets get in with lower admission standards than the average cadet. That means people who would have made better officers are denied entrance into the academy so that it can have a good football team. All those things considered, it’s hard for the average cadet to be excited about football.

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