Slade Cutter: Streak-snapping kicker turned war hero

Slade Cutter

Before earning six valor awards as a World War II submariner, Capt. Slade Cutter kicked a streak-ending field goal for Navy in 1934. ( image)

Navy’s current nine-game win streak over Army is the longest for either school in the rivalry’s 111-game history. But the Midshipmen went winless in 10 games from 1922 to 1933, a span that featured two ties and two years (1928 and 1929) when no game was played.

How do you end such a drought? With a field goal by a decorated World War II submarine commander, of course.

On Dec. 1, 1934, on a wet Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Navy senior Slade Cutter lined up for a 20-yard first-quarter field goal that even the Navy coaches thought was going to be a fake, according to his obituary on the site. It went through, and a combination of mud and defense kept both teams scoreless the rest of the way.

A life-defining moment for a service-academy athlete of any era. But for Cutter, it was one of many: He played for legendary NFL coach Paul Brown in high school; he was a national collegiate boxing champion; he won a flute competition judged by John Philip Sousa, according to his obituary.

All that came before his World War II submarine service, which began 11 days after Pearl Harbor as the executive officer of the Pompano. Then-Lt. Cutter earned two Silver Stars for his “bravery” and “conspicuous gallantry” aboard the vessel. In late 1943, Cutter took command of the Sea Horse, which sunk 19 Japanese ships under his command, according to a history piece. His obituary reports 23 sinkings, with Cutter refusing to take credit for four unarmed trawlers “despite orders to shoot all enemy craft.”

Lt. Cmdr. Cutter earned four Navy Crosses for his work aboard Sea Horse. Promoted to captain after the war, he would serve as the Naval Academy’s athletic director in the late 1950s and was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1967. He died in 2005 at age 93.

So, Navy’s longest winless streak ended thanks to a field-goal kicker who’d go on to earn six valor awards under the Pacific. Your move, Black Knights.


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