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Bush Awards Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to Midshipmen

By Army Sgt. Sara Moore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2008 – For the fifth year in a row, the football players from the U.S. Naval Academy were honored guests at the White House to receive the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy today.

The Midshipmen claimed the trophy by beating the Air Force, 31-20, and the Army, 38-3, during the 2007-08 season. The trophy is presented each year to the military academy with the best head-to-head record.

“This team has had an historic season,” Bush said at the award presentation in the Rose Garden. “For the third year in a row, [Navy] had the most rushing yards in the nation, as well as the nation's highest graduation rate. You went to your fifth straight bowl game, and of course you accomplished your most important goal: you beat Army.”

The Navy team set a school record by scoring 511 points this season and, with its sixth straight win over the Army, established the longest winning streak against Army in history, Bush noted. The Midshipmen also beat Notre Dame for the first time since 1963.

Bush lauded several of the stand-out performers on the team, including the team’s captain, slot back Reggie Campbell, who holds eight school records. The president singled out slot back Zerbin Singleton, who overcame injuries from a car accident to make it to the Naval Academy and during the season received Disney’s Wide World of Sports Spirit Award as college football's most inspirational figure. Singleton is the brigade commander of all 4,200 midshipmen at the Naval Academy and will soon begin flight training as a Marine aviator.

Bush said he was proud to welcome the individual stars to the White House, “but no question this team played well because you played as a unit. I want to thank every football player for agreeing to put on the uniform of the finest military ever. You signed up after 9/11. You knew the stakes involved in the war against extremists and radicals. You knew that your country depended on you. And you didn't hesitate to wear the uniform.”

Bush said he looks forward to welcoming the Midshipmen into the military.

“I cannot wait to be able to say to you some day, ‘I'm proud to be your commander in chief,’” he said. “And so I welcome you to the Rose Garden. I congratulate you on being fine football players. More importantly, I congratulate you on being patriotic Americans.”

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