As published by Trident newspaper on Jan. 6, 2006.
Peleliu hosts Naval Academy football game rally
By Journalist 2nd Class Zack Baddorf, USS Peleliu Public Affairs
PACIFIC OCEAN — The amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) hosted a pep rally Dec. 21 for the U.S. Naval Academy football team in the ship’s hangar bay while moored at Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego to “fire them up” for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego versus the Colorado State University Rams.
Guests at the pep rally included Superintendent of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Willard, U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, Naval Air Forces Commander Vice Adm. James Zortman, U.S. 6th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Stufflebeem, and Commanding General, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Lt. Gen. John Sattler.
“I would ask everyone that when we’re rooting the team on, just remember that as they crush Colorado State and cruise on to victory,” said Sattler during the pep rally, “at the same time we’re rooting that team on, we’re rooting for every Sailor and every Marine wherever he may be that way, in some case in harms way on some distant land.”
Joining Sattler on stage was the Electric Brigade, the Naval Academy’s rock band, which provided musical entertainment throughout the evening. “Bill the Goat,” the Midshipmen’s mascot, and Peleliu’s mascot, “The Gator,” were also on-hand to cheer on the Navy team.
“I really appreciate the crew of the Peleliu and all the effort to bring this ship here to give us one of the most Naval spots we’ve ever had a pep rally,” said Rempt. “We’re all proud to be out here in San Diego, a Navy town to show what Navy football is all about.”
Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk agreed, saying the experience for him and the team was “absolutely awesome.”
“We are so proud to be here in San Diego,” he said.
Gladchuk presented a #79 jersey to Peleliu commanding officer Capt. William Personius, who played that number when he was in the Naval Academy in 1979.
Along with the team, several hundred midshipmen attend the pep rally and game. Senior Jerry Chase, a defensive end, said the rally “fired up” his teammates.
“I’d like to thank you all for all your support and I’m looking forward to having such a great home field advantage,” Chase told the Peleliu Sailors during a speech at the pep rally.
“I think it’s really more a tribute to what the Naval Academy’s all about,” said Paul Johnson, the coach of the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen, at a press conference aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV 41). “We’re fortunate here in San Diego that we have some military bases and a lot of people are stationed in the area, and hopefully they’re proud of what’s going on at the academy.”
Peleliu Sailors conducted tours of the ship for the Midshipmen and the general public. Johnson said this is great for the Navy’s future officers because they’ll be working on ships like Peleliu when they graduate.
The Midshipmen defeated the Rams with a score of 51-30, Dec. 22 at the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl. The game was televised on ESPN2.
The Poinsettia Bowl game was the first time the Midshipmen have gone to three straight bowl games. Navy will have the opportunity to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in 2008, 2009 or 2010 if team is bowl eligible.