The following consideration of the spirit instilled in the midshipman and cadet was written for today's issue of the Crimson by Lieutenant A. R. Taylor, of the United States Naval Academy class of 1922. During his last year at Annapolis, Taylor was managing editor of the Log, the Academy paper. He is now a graduate student in the Engineering school.
Two bluejackets were rolling down Sands Street. To the man who followed closely behind them they seemed to be in violent altercation. Drawing closer he was able to discover that it was the cuisine aboard the U.S.S. Texas which was under discussion. Apparently everything was wrong with the chow. It seemed that the spuds had been grown in a swamp, the coffee fabricated from bilge-water, the beef unfit for the fishes, and the canned willie-words failed them, but not expletives.
Having reached that dubious region buried in the gloom beneath the piers and buttresses of Manhattan Bridge the abused seamen dropped anchor in a more dubious appearing rendezvous already filled with many of their fellows. Being likewise thirsty their shadow followed. The newcomers were greeted variously. As they made their way into the group subtle, inference and thinly yelled insult were cast in their direction. The crew of a flag-ship always has a lot to live down. The badinage became more irritating; the rebuttal more spirited. Finally some intrepid soul had the temerity to observe that the crew of the Texas were fed in the manner of swine in comparison with the luxurious fare meted out aboard the Arkansas. This was too much. With righteous indignation the worthy Texans plunged into battle royal in resentment of such scandalous libel directed against the accommodations of their floating home.
The same sentiment, somewhat complicated but inspired by the same spirit, prevails between the Midshipmen and Cadets and their older brothers, the officers of the Navy and the Army. When the horns of the goat tangle with the elongated ears of the mule upon the athletic field a partisan feeling that claims every spectator be he uniformed or casual, blazes from the stands. To the fevered eye of the midshipman no more damnable sight appears upon the horizon than the solid bank of frenzied, gesticulating, grey-coated maniacs that occupies the opposite stand. For an hour or two he hurls epithets at its maddening solidity across the field where on his shipmates struggle for transient glory. If success be their reward he plunges over the boxes, with little regard for the grey bearded dignity of his seniors who have drawn the ringside seats, to writhe across the field in a snake dance of victory, chanting appropriate verses of "The Armored Cruiser Squadron," until, massed before the ranks of rigid "Kaydets" he places his cap over his heart while he joins his fellows in whistling taps over the departed spirit of his adversary. If the tide of victory turns against his protagonists he stands at "brace" while the grey horde sweeps toward him, feeling that if the world has not come to an end--it might as well.
But then the day arrives when the Army team appears upon the field against an alien foe. Another adversary seeks to trample the Black and Grey and Gold in the dust of defeat. It may be a worthy foe whose prowess threatens to send the Cadets back to the Highlands of the Hudson sadder and wiser men. But be the threat great or small it has always been the pride of Navy men that when their brothers in khaki sally forth to battle they will find their blue-clad shipmates behind them to a man, glorying in their victories and suffering with them in their defeats. And Army men, likewise, make the Navy's cause their own against a common adversary.
Unfortunately, as with the Texas sailors, there is this year, some difference of opinion concerning the merits of certain issues aboard the good ship on which the Army and Navy serve. That is "shipmate stuff" and can hardly be discusses here. It has no bearing on the larger issue. In fact, to a certain extent it simplifies the problem of partisanship, for under the present circumstances, as in later life, the Navy man may give his unqualified support to his Army brother whenever he sallies forth upon the field of glory.