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Mullen Salutes Servicemembers at Army-Navy Game

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2010 – Attending this year's Army-Navy football game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia today, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praised the contributions of U.S. military members serving around the globe.

Just before the kickoff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen described the annual Army-Navy game as "a field of strife" that features players from "two great institutions" -– the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

This year's Army-Navy football game is the 111th since the first of the contests was played in 1890.

The chairman saluted the Army and Navy football players, noting that their gridiron exploits serve as an inspiration for U.S. troops worldwide.

The "spectacular young men on the field," Mullen said, "represent young men and women that are the best we have in the country."

Mullen also was asked about his overseas travels to meet and talk with servicemembers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Troop morale is "really terrific," the chairman said, adding that progress is being made in both countries, particularly in Afghanistan.

"I couldn't be prouder of this great military," he said.

Mullen graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, and noted today that his first date with his wife, Deborah, was at the December 1967 Army-Navy game.

The admiral was asked if it was distressing for him to appear to be impartial about the outcome of today's game, given his position as the senior military leader of all the services.

"Impartiality is difficult, even though I'm a 'joint' guy," Mullen said.

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