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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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1913. Annapolis, Maryland. "U.S. Naval Academy football team." With chalked-on jersey numbers. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

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Identification of the men on the team!

Through many hours staring at the pages of the Lucky Bag, from 1912-17, I've been able to identify most of these men. Unfortunately, the practice of identifying individuals in things like team photos was still a few years away. They were from the class of 1914, unless otherwise noted.

Bottom row left to right:

KP Gilchrist was team captain, that year, and also one of the very few to letter all four years. Although his tombstone says "Kay", he had one of those names that was just initials. This was confirmed to me by his grandniece. "Gillie" showed a great deal of promise for his Naval career, as well. Unfortunately, while he was stationed in the Philippines, in 1916, he contracted pneumonia. He was transported back to the US Naval Hospital, Mare Island, California, but died there. His death was widely grieved in Annapolis, where his success in athletics had made him a favorite of the citizens.

Next to Gilchrist is Henry Read "Pud" Leonard. According to the Annual Register for that year, Leonard did not graduate with his class, but he was well known as a great football player.

Next to Leonard is Harvey Edward "Swede" Overesch. Swede was another standout in sports, from the class of 1915. Nearly 30 years later, Capt. H.E. Overesch returned to USNA as superintendent of midshipmen. He eventually got three stars.

Next is Byron Brown Ralston, a standout in football and lacrosse, he was also very active in the YMCA.

Beside Ralston is a man with a truly great name, which has been passed down through his son, grandson, and great-grandson. Zeno Waterbury Wicks later worked with the Navy's "lighter than air" fleet. Fortunately, he was not on any of the air-ships when they crashed, which lost many fine young men.

Joseph Reasor Redman is next. He and his younger brother both retired as admirals.

Finally, Thomas Newcome Vinson, whose primary sport was baseball. He served through WWII and retired as a captain.

On to the second row, far left, a man I have spent literally hours trying to identify, with no luck! He played basketball, as well as football. He could have been one of those who did not graduate, for one reason or another.

Next to him is Homer William Graf, class of 1915. He retired as a Commodore, that rank between Captain and Rear Admiral, which faded into obscurity, shortly after his time.

Next to Graf is a man I have a bit of a crush on! A large, muscular, very handsome, young man, who was known for being shy and blushing easily, George Tyler Howe was from Paw Paw, Michigan. He was stationed in the Panama Canal zone, in 1920, when his son, George, Jr, was born. Having retired in the mid-30s, he was recalled to active duty and assigned to recruitment, as the Navy started building up in anticipation of WWII. He encouraged his son's efforts to become an aviator in the US Naval Reserve. George Jr. succeeded but, unfortunately, was killed in an operational accident, just a few months later.

Benjamin Franklin Perry USNA '1915. Perry retired more than 30 years later, as a Rear Admiral. His last command was of the former Hitler luxury yacht, Europa, which had been converted to a troop ship.

Homer Howard Harrison, USNA '1915, was not very photogenic, but another great athlete. It was said that his Sunday afternoon rest routine, following a football game, the day before, was 3 hours working out in the gym, followed by running, and rowing, several miles each.

Next to Harrison is George Cascaden Kriner (class '1915). He retired as a Captain (O-6) and is buried at Arlington.

Next to Kriner is another whom I have not been able to identify, but I will keep trying!

At the end of that row is Paul Fitzsimons, Jr. "Fitz" retired as a Lt. Commander. The Lucky Bag says he had lived everywhere from "Tokio to Paris", growing up, which probably meant that he was a "Navy Junior". (As my dad always said, the Army has "brats" and the Navy and Marine Corps has "Juniors").

On to the third row back:

Leonard Paul Wessell, class of 1917. He retired as a commander and is buried in Riverside, California.

Stanley Livingston Wilson, retired as a commander and is buried at Arlington.

Robert Louis Vaughan, was another all-round athlete. In 1920, Lt. Vaughan was killed in the crash of a sea plane over the Panama Canal Zone, leaving a wife and two infant boys. His sons were both career Navy, the older of whom had followed in his footsteps, excelling in sports at USNA.

Next is Ralph Gilbert Pennoyer. Ralph's nickname at the USNA was "Poodles", for some reason! He was well-known for being very generous with his friends, blowing all of his money, down to the last nickel, on such things as shows as nice dinners. Ralph was an early participant in the "Lighter-than-Air" Navy, or airships. When a large airship carrying both British and American men crashed, killing many, the newspaper at Ralph's hometown carried an article about his mother receiving a short telegram, reading only "Safe-Sound-Ralph". Apparently, someone didn't want his mother to read about the crash and worry! Ralph retired as a commander.

Arthur Clark Miles '16, was one of the smaller men to play football for USNA, but was so well respected for his talent that he was elected team captain for the Fall of 1915. He continued to excel in his Naval career and retired as a Vice Admiral.

James Blackburn Ryan was from the class of 1916. I haven't been able to find any more information than that, except that he was apparently very highly thought of!

Paul Williams Fletcher is next. His primary sport was gymnastics, still known as "gymnasium" at the time. He retired at a commander.

Robert Norris Kennedy class of 1916, rounds out the row. His nicknames were "Dunc" and "The Old Roman".

Finally, this is the back row!

I would have expected a blonde-blue-eyed man to be named Louis Remsen de Roode, but that was the man's name! From the class of 1915, he took his commission in the US Marines, rather than the Navy, as some do, every year. He retired as a Major. Relatively few in the US Navy actually saw enemy action in WWI, but most of the Marines did.

Next is Richard Waller Bates, who was awarded the Navy Cross and retired as a Rear Admiral.

Rollin Van Alstyn Failing is next. He started out in the class of 1916, but was retained in 1917 and graduated that year, instead. This was not that rare for those who spent lots of time on sports. It didn't stop him from making captain (0-6), though.

Next is future Vice Admiral Robert Ward Hayler, who was the team manager that year. I wish he had taken off his cap!

Clarence James McReavy was another celebrated athlete, from the class of 1914. He was even better at baseball than he was at football. He retired as a commander, in Pensacola, Florida.

William Dennison Alexander, USNA 1915, was referred to as "son of the major" in his Lucky Bag bio, and it was also suggested that he would go into the Marine Corps. However, he resigned from the Navy, upon graduation, and took a commission in the Army!

The last man is Louis Richardson Vail, USNA 1916. He's buried at Arlington, and had retired as a captain. I also found an engagement announcement, announcing that his wedding would be in early June, or very soon after graduation!

It is also worth mentioning that there were three celebrated players, that year, who weren't present for the picture. Future admiral John Herbert "Babe" Brown, was named an all-American by Walter Camp, for 1913. He was a huge, powerful, man and an all around athlete.

Another was Homer L. Ingram. His older brother, future Adm. Jonas H. Ingram was a medal of honor recipient. Homer was an early submariner, during WWI. Sadly, he was prevented from following in his brother's footsteps by the influenza pandemic of 1918.

The other was William Montague Nichols. "Nick" came from a wealthy family and resigned from the academy shortly before graduation, saying that he didn't wish to be in the Navy. The following year, when war broke out in Europe, he went to England and volunteered for the artillery. He was killed in action in the battle of Loos, just a few months later.

More information, and pictures, can be found here:

Shutout Kings II

Since Army defeated Navy that year the entire season's accomplishments became just a footnote.

Go Navy --- Beat Army

Shutout kings

In a nine-game season, the 1913 Midshipmen allowed only one of their first eight opponents to score a point. After starting out the season tying Pittsburgh 0-0, future vice-admiral John H. Brown Jr. and his teammates overwhelmed every other opponent, allowing only Bucknell to reach the end zone (once), while scoring 295 points. Their run came to an end against Army on Nov. 29, when future general Omar Bradley and the other Black Knights dominated the contest, defeating Navy 22-9.


On this mega sport day in America, I would like, as a non-American, to commend all Americans for their many positive traits as exhibited in this group of 30 of its young athletic men: confidence, wariness, strength, guardedness, friendliness, candor, beauty, toughness, and great hair.

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