At Ease: An Old Army-Navy Score Has Been Settled

Lousy swabbie!

That’s how Ed Dewey, a sophomore on the United States Military Academy, needed to handle his letter to a midshipman on the United States Naval Academy, utilizing Army slang for a member of the Navy. But as a substitute, Dewey restrained himself and wrote to “Mid’n Greg Horney ’68” to specific his dismay that Horney had reneged on a wager.

“As you might have most likely guessed, this letter is regarding an unsettled settlement between ourselves,” Dewey acknowledged on official West Point stationery. “Approx. four months was the A-N soccer recreation. I positioned a wager, within the type of a parka, on that recreation. We received. I might anticipate to be paid full and promptly.”

The letter was dated March Eight, 1965. Dewey had positioned his wager on the 1964 Army-Navy recreation, following a convention that West Point cadets wager Annapolis midshipmen. On a sign-up sheet, college students might wager an official academy parka or a bathrobe. Each bettor can be matched up with one from the opposing academy. The loser was to pay up shortly.

“We’d joke that we’d win the Navy parka and put it beneath our automobile to cease oil leaks,” Dewey mentioned. “But I couldn’t even do this if I’d needed to.’’ He mentioned he was certain “this darn Navy man’’ was refusing to honor the debt.

Dewey had additionally wager on the Army-Navy recreation the 12 months earlier than, in 1963, however he misplaced when Navy, led by Roger Staubach, received, 21-15. Dewey forfeited a parka.

Ed Dewey with the Navy blanket that Greg Horne lately despatched him rather than a parka he anticipated in 1964.CreditJenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times

By the 1964 recreation, Army had not overwhelmed Navy in 5 years, however Dewey nonetheless believed in his group. His hunch was proper. Army received, 11-Eight, as a crushing West Point protection saved Staubach contained.

In the weeks that adopted, Dewey watched different cadets obtain darkish wool Navy parkas or wool Navy bathrobes. But two months glided by, and there was no payoff for him. After 4 months, nonetheless nothing.

“Lousy Navy man!” he thought.

He couldn’t let it slide. So he wrote his letter to Horney, who was in his first 12 months at Annapolis.

“I positioned the wager in good religion, prepared to ship one among our parkas if we misplaced, and I did the earlier 12 months,” Dewey wrote. “To be blunt, I might drastically admire receiving shortly within the mail a U.S.N.A. parka with ’67 numerals.” (Dewey was a member of the category of 1967.)

Still, nothing.

After that, the parka was steadily forgotten. The Vietnam War loomed giant, and upon graduating, Dewey was commissioned as a second lieutenant in discipline artillery. Two years later, at age 23, he was in a South Vietnam jungle, quickly to command a battery of 100 troopers.

The offended letter that Ed Dewey wrote to Greg Horne greater than 50 years in the past.CreditJenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times

During his yearlong tour of obligation, 4 males in his battery have been killed and lots of extra have been significantly wounded. He wrote letters to the dad and mom of every to allow them to know somebody had cared about their sons.

“Of course, they’d get a knock on the door, such as you see in movies,” he mentioned. “But it was my job to make issues extra private. In the broadest sense, as a commander, you have been liable for their well-being, for his or her security.”

Dewey ended up staying within the Army for 26 years, instructing at West Point and serving in South Korea and Europe. He finally rose to the rank of colonel.

Then final month, 5 years into retirement from a subsequent profession as a enterprise government, the telephone rang at his house in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The caller mentioned, “You most likely don’t bear in mind me. But I’m the midshipman that didn’t pay you that wager 54 years in the past.”

Army’s Barry Nickerson kicking a fourth-quarter discipline aim within the 1964 Army-Navy recreation. The closing rating was 11-Eight, and the sector aim offered the profitable margin.Credit scoreAssociated Press

The caller went on. “There have been extenuating circumstances,” he mentioned, which he proceeded to clarify.

Greg Horney, now Greg Horne after dropping the “y” in his identify, lives in Highland, Md., about 30 miles from Washington, the place he labored for many years as a protection contractor after leaving the Navy.

As he outlined to Dewey in that November name and later in a two-page letter, he didn’t know that he had even positioned that 1964 wager. He had grown up modestly in New Castle, Pa., the place his father was a mail service. His household didn’t have the cash to place the required quantity in his Naval Academy checking account his first 12 months, so he mentioned his Navy paycheck was garnished every week to compensate. That left him $15 a month — hardly sufficient to purchase a parka, which again then value perhaps twice that a lot.

“I didn’t wager as a result of I didn’t have the cash to lose,” he mentioned. “So another person — will need to have been a senior — positioned the wager for me.”

Besides, he mentioned, he by no means obtained Dewey’s letter asking him to pay up.

In November 1964, Horne tore the cartilage in his left knee throughout freshman soccer observe — he by no means made it past the junior varsity — and spent weeks within the hospital. As a end result, he watched that 12 months’s Army-Navy recreation on TV. The remainder of the college 12 months was a blur. Back house for Christmas. On campus for closing exams. Back within the hospital for surgical procedure. Away in California for summer season army coaching.

The Army-Navy recreation was the least of his worries.

A white poster board appeared within the rotunda of his dormitory throughout Horne’s second 12 months there. It listed a number of names of Naval Academy graduates who had been killed in Vietnam. The poster would quickly be stuffed with extra names, he mentioned. Then one other poster would seem, and that one would refill, too. And then one other.

Greg Horne as a Navy midshipman.

Two years after commencement, on the identical time Dewey was in Vietnam, Horne was on a ship off the Vietnamese coast, firing rockets in help of floor troops. He was a weapons and deck division officer accountable for 70 seamen on the united statesS. White River.

“We educated to be leaders, and that’s what we needed to do, no matter academy you got here from,” he mentioned. “In the tip, and that is essential right here, we have been all in it collectively.”

Horne was in a battle zone for about three months earlier than being reassigned. By the time he retired from the Navy, he had reached the rank of captain.

He has had season tickets to Navy soccer for 35 years, however the Army-Navy rivalry by no means felt as poignant because it does this 12 months — all due to a letter present in his dad and mom’ home after his mom died.

It was Dewey’s letter. Reading it, Horne felt himself blush.

He surmised that the letter will need to have been forwarded to him within the hospital following his knee damage, then again to his dorm, after which to his dad and mom’ home, the place it stayed for greater than 50 years.

The inscription that Greg Horne’s spouse, Pam, sewed into the blanket that was despatched to Ed Dewey. The two males have made a brand new wager on this 12 months’s recreation, which will probably be performed Saturday.CreditJenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times

After calling Dewey and writing him a letter of rationalization, Horne additionally despatched a big “Navy 1968” blanket rather than the parka that by no means confirmed up. (Horne graduated in 1968.) His spouse, Pam, cross-stitched a be aware to the blanket that mentioned, “For A Great Win,” and included the date and rating of Army’s victory.

Horne included an apology. “Honestly, ‘most’ Midshipmen are rather more reliable,” he wrote.

Dewey appreciated the gesture — all of it.

“He might’ve simply opened that letter I despatched to him in 1965, laughed and threw it away,” Dewey mentioned. “But there may be honor, and we have been educated to be gents, so it is sensible that he didn’t.”

Now, all these years later, a friendship is rising. Betting by the 2 academies on the Army-Navy recreation is much less formal than it was once, however that hasn’t deterred Dewey and Horne.

The two, who’re each 72, have positioned a brand new wager with one another, waging a steak dinner on this Saturday’s Army-Navy recreation in Philadelphia. Dewey will watch in Santa Barbara with classmates from West Point. Horne, who has a granddaughter at West Point, will watch the sport in Florida, the place he hopes to be joined by some previous buddies from the Naval Academy.

Dewey is so assured he’ll win that he joked with Horne, saying, “I received’t have to attend 54 years for the dinner, will I? Why don’t you simply put your verify within the mail now, so a minimum of it will get right here on time.”

That “awful swabbie,” who turned out not awful in any case, laughed and got here again together with his personal joke.

“You know what cadets and midshipmen have in frequent?” Horne mentioned. “Navy was the primary selection for each of them.”

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