News | Dec. 18, 2020

The Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy is on the line

By Lt Col Will Cambardella DLA Joint Reserve Force

Fifty-five, also known as the double-nickel, is the national maximum speed limit instituted by the president around the same time he presented Army with the first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. The Army and Air Force are meeting at Michie Stadium in West Point, New York, for the 55th time overall on Saturday for a winner-take-all race to the finish. It may be the first time both teams have played each other following the Army-Navy game.

This game was originally scheduled to be played on Nov. 7, but because of COVID-19, the game was postponed. The Army is coming off a shutout win at home against Navy — a feat that had not been accomplished in over 50 years. It was the first meeting against Navy at West Point since 1943.

The Falcons will honor the Tuskegee Airman, the first all-Black unit in the Army Air Corps by wearing special gray uniforms with P-51 Mustang squadron tails emblazoned on chrome base helmets. The Black Knights will suit up coming off their tribute last week to the 25th Infantry Division, Tropic Lightning, and the 27th Infantry Regiment, Wolfhounds.

What is on the line? A source of pride — 365 days of bragging rights and hardware — the coveted CIC Trophy. Next year’s game will mark the golden anniversary for the trivalry and prestigious trophy. Previously, the Army won back-to-back trophies in 2017 and 2018. The Air Force was last victorious in 2016 and holds a series-best 62-35 overall record.

The annual prize stands at 2.5 feet and weighs 170 lbs. The design consists of three silver footballs symbolizing the service academies with inscriptions commemorating wins and below that, their respective mascots.

Overall, the trophy has been awarded to the Air Force 20 times and to the Army eight times by the sitting Commander-in-Chief, usually at the White House, since when the three service academies agreed to play annually in 1972. The previous year’s winner retains the trophy if competition ends in a tie.

Both coaches had an opportunity to speak at their press conferences this week in preparation for the game.

Army Coach Jeff Monken spoke to the significance of the CIC Trophy.

"All three schools that play for it covet that trophy,” Monken said. “It's the most important goal that we have as a program and I'm sure that is shared by our counterparts.”

One of those counterparts, led by Troy Calhoun, spoke to this year’s adversity.

“I don’t think there is any Academy that can say there hasn’t been challenges this year, yet at the same time you push forward,” Calhoun said. “The Cadet Wing has done a really good job and that’s a credit to the leadership at the Academy.”

Today, the Navy has possession of the trophy displayed in a glass case in the Midshipmen’s dormitory, Bancroft Hall. After Saturday it will reside either with the Air Force at the Cadet Fieldhouse or with the Army at Kimsey Athletic Center in Michie Stadium.