On November 30, 1974, what started as a memorable and well-executed Army-Navy pre-game prank by 40 Navy midshipmen impersonating Army cadets prior to kickoff, soon morphed into the seamless capture of 36 Army company guidons (unit flags). While the Army eventually recovered most of the captured guidons, a few never found their way back to West Point.
The proud caretaker of one the missing guidons (belonging to Company H, 1st Regiment, or H-1), 1976 Naval Academy graduate, and longtime loyal HFOT Volunteer and Supporter, Dennis DiLucente, vividly recalls that day and the shenanigans that ensued.
“I somehow ‘missed’ the order to turn in my captured guidon. Carrying it throughout the many years that followed, the coveted cloth became my symbol of Navy’s dominance over Army,” says DiLucente. “In reality, we are all on one team who has fought side by side since the 1974 acquisition of that guidon. For the past 8 years, Homes For Our Troops’ Executive Director, Bill Ivey, West Point Class of 1975, and I have now joined together in our post-active-duty lives to assist severely injured veterans in rebuilding their lives.”
“We bet on the game annually with the winner taking home the guidon ‘battle trophy’ and the loser donates to Homes For Our Troops. The loser is also subjected to performing the ‘walk of shame’ by wearing their rival’s jersey at public events,” he adds.
When Bill Ivey informed his H-1 classmates of the whereabouts of their errant guidon, they immediately formed a Guidon Recovery Committee, vowing to leave no guidon behind. They devised a plan to exchange something of value with the holder of the guidon, as nothing else had managed to recover it in the past 47 years.
One thing that both the Army and Navy can agree on is that HFOT’s mission of building and donating specially adapted custom homes for severely injured Veterans transcends even the most bitter of rivalries. For this year’s Army-Navy game, Dennis has ‘traded’ the coveted missing guidon with West Point Company H-1 Alumni in exchange for two specially commissioned H-1 coins. Company H-1 Alumni have created a special Spirit Video to commemorate the event and raise money to further Homes For Our Troops’ mission.
To learn more about Company H-1, the missing guidon and its recovery click here.