ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Gen. Martin Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, cheered for both sides and discussed the value of athletic competition and leadership, Feb. 16 at the Army-Navy basketball games held at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
After West Point pulled away in the final seconds of each game, Dempsey visited the locker rooms of both the winning and losing men's and women's teams to give words of congratulations and encouragement.
"You should be proud of everything you've accomplished," said Dempsey. "Athletic competition allows you to identify your limits, so that in conflict - in a fight - you can press through and surge to get past that line."
In the men's game, the Army team went on a 17-5 run midway through the second half, and a Navy jumper in the lane as the clock expired came up short as Army edged the Midshipmen, 56-55, in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,710.
In the women's game, Army held the Navy to 28 percent shooting from the field and a 3-of-22 effort from three-point range to win a defensive battle between the teams, 48-40.
Dempsey is clearly a fan of both teams. "I would consider the Army-Navy rivalry the best sports rivalry on the planet. I'm a Yankees fan; I follow the Boston teams; I'm a Duke fan, where I received my masters degree; but when you think about sports competition in its most pure form, Army-Navy is as good as it gets."
In a message for America's youth, Dempsey said, "I'd love to see America's best and brightest attend one of the service academies. Young men and women should ask themselves what they want their identity be be, because your choice of colleges begins to build your identity. If you want to be known forever as someone who wanted to do something more important than yourself - here is where you want to be. It's pretty competitive though, so be ready."
Gen. Dempsey expressed his gratitude to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines watching from duty stations around the world ... "I appreciate what you do and I remember who's out there on the point. The country will prevail, and we will remain the finest military in the world."
For more news from U.S. Naval Academy, visit www.navy.mil/local/usna/.