President Obama Presents Navy with Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy

President Obama Presents Navy with Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy


President Obama:
Welcome to the White House, and
congratulations on winning your seventh straight
Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. Does this ever get old? (applause) I do have to warn you that I
consulted with the White House counsel, and according
to the 22nd Amendment, you’re only allowed to come
back here one more time — (laughter) — before it’s
somebody else’s turn. But we are honored to have
all of you here today. I want to start by acknowledging
a few people who are with us. Of course I want to thank
your Superintendent, Vice Admiral Jeffrey
Fowler, for being here, and the outstanding
work that he does. I also want to recognize
the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, who is with us, and
is doing an outstanding job as Secretary of the Navy. I want to welcome Lieutenant
Commander Wesley Brown, class of 1949, back
to the White House. There he is, right here. (applause) Wesley was the academy’s first
African American graduate. So we are extremely honored
to have you here today, sir. Thank you. Finally, I obviously want to
congratulate Coach Ken — a fellow Hawaiian, I should point
out — on winning another — having another great season, a
winning season in Annapolis. Now, I know it’s an
understatement to say that this program has been pretty
successful over the years. You’ve been to a bowl game
every year since 2003. You’ve pulled off seven
straight wins against Air Force — eight against Navy. Audience:
Army. President Obama:
— or against Army — excuse me. (laughter) Excuse me. It would be hard for
Navy to beat Navy. (laughter) That’s even more
impressive, Coach Ken says, because the Army/Navy game
isn’t just one of the biggest rivalries in college football
— it’s one of the biggest rivalries in sports, period. But last season was special
from the very beginning. In your first game, you gave the
Buckeyes a run for their money in front of 105,000 fans. You beat Notre Dame for the
second time in three years — proving once again that even
though your lineman are going up against guys who are 40 or 50
pounds heavier than they are, the Midshipmen can still
run with the big dogs. Speaking of running, I want to
congratulate Ricky Dobbs for setting the NCAA rushing record
for touchdowns by a quarterback this season with 27. Where’s Ricky? Where is he? (applause) The previous record was
held by a guy named Tebow, so that’s not an easy feat. (laughter) Now, I also understand Ricky has
announced for the presidency — (laughter) — in the year 2040. I know people are announcing
early these days — (laughter) — but, Ricky,
that’s a bit much. (laughter) But it does mean that when
Navy comes back for the Commander-in-Chief’s
Trophy 30 years from now, you might hear a
speech from this guy. (laughter) This team wouldn’t be the
same without your captains, Osei Asante and Ross Pospisil. And so, where are those guys
— Osei, Ross, where are you? (applause) Beside their leadership
on the field, I was incredibly proud to hear
about the toy drive that Ross organized last year. The team raised
$1,700 and bought, wrapped and delivered toys to
four needy families — and you guys did it in the
middle of a blizzard. So we are very proud
of you for that. And I want to thank all of
you guys for your compassion and your generosity. In the end, it’s the willingness
to put others above yourselves that sets this team — and all
the service academies — apart. Your days are packed with
morning inspections and a full load of classes, football
practice, and military duties. And oftentimes, you’re lucky if
you can get a few minutes to yourselves before
studying into the night. But you do it because each of
you has a higher calling — to serve your country
in a time of war. As Ross says, “We are always
going to be remembered for what we have done on
the football field. That’s all well and good. But we want to make a difference
outside Bancroft Hall, and outside the Academy walls.” And that I think is the kind of
ethic that makes us all so proud. In a few short weeks, 32 of you
will have that chance when you become officers in the United
States Navy and Marine Corps. Last year, I was honored to
attend the Academy commencement and see firsthand the incredible
spirit that drives every Midshipman at Annapolis
— in addition to getting two chest bumps. (laughter) It’s true. Wherever you go, you’ll remember the
brothers standing with you today. And you’ll remember the lessons
that you learned at the Academy and as a member of this team. And you’ll know what it takes
to go through fire and emerge a better man and a better leader. So I want you to know that
I have no greater honor, and no greater responsibility,
than serving as your Commander-in-Chief. And I promise you that this
country will stand with you, from the moment you put on the
uniform to the moment you take it off, as you devote your
lives to freedom’s cause. God bless you. God bless the United
States of America. (applause) Thank you very much. Coach. (applause) Coach Niumatalolo:
Mr. President, on behalf of the United States
Naval Academy and our entire football program, once again
it’s a great honor for us to be here, and thank you for allowing
us to come be your guests. I know there’s many other
fabulous teams that come here — other collegians, national
championship team, professional world champions
— but this team is different. This is your team. And behind you, you have 32
great young men that in a couple months will serve you as
our Commander-in-Chief. And there are no finer,
great men than these. And I’m very, very
happy that we’re here. Thank you very much. (applause) President Obama:
Why don’t you tell
everybody what you got. (laughter) Player:
All right. Well, what we go
here is our jersey from this past Army/Navy game and the
Missouri game with the number 44. President Obama:
It’s number 44. Right here. (applause) Thank you. (applause) Player:
Mr. President, we also have
a ring commemorating our bowl game victory and our
commander-in-chief win as well. President Obama:
Thank you very much. This is a big ring. (applause)

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