WASHINGTON (NNS) -- President Barack Obama presented the U.S. Naval Academy football team with its seventh straight Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in the White House Rose Garden May 3.
The trophy is awarded each year to the winner of the college football series among the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
"Does this ever get old?" Obama joked. "According to the 22nd Amendment, you're only allowed to come back here one more time before it's somebody else's turn."
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler also were on hand for the event, as well as the academy's first African-American graduate, Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Brown from the class of 1949.
Noting that Navy has been in a college bowl game every year since 2003, Obama said, "I know it's an understatement to say this program has been pretty successful."
Obama congratulated the team and singled out Quarterback Ricky Dobb for setting the NCAA rushing record for touchdowns with 27.
"In the end, it's the willingness to put others above yourselves that sets this team - and all the service academies - apart," Obama said. "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."
In a few short weeks, Obama said, 32 of the players will become Naval or Marine Corps officers. "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," he continued. "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."
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