Class of ’54 Army Cheer Leader
Please go to — http://forwhattheygaveonsaturdayafternoon.com/wp-teams/football/1953-football — after reading Jay’s account.
Editor’s Note – Jay has provide several writings for this site, there are some interesting comments after the Duke Game – 53 Season write up and his memories of the commemoration of the Patton Statue are included with the photographs of Patton’s Statue.
The West Point class of 1954 had never seen an Army victory (over Navy). In 1950, Navy upset the Corps and a cheating scandal followed that defeat. West Point lost to Navy in 1951 and 1952. There were those of us who firmly believed that part of the reason for these unfortunate defeats was the loss of Corps Spirit so we set about to do everything we could to bring back the winning spirits building toward the Navy game that fall.
Taking an old war trophy, a German Rocket gun captured at Kasserine Pass in WW II, the staff in the Ordinance Laboratory volunteered to make an adapter shell that would shoot a blank 10 gauge. The Captain in charge of the motor pool volunteered to “camouflage” a jeep with Army colors painting it black, gold and gray. Of course we needed a trailer also appropriately “camouflaged” to match the constructed Victory Cannon.
The Victory Cannon along with the camouflaged jeep was introduced to the Corps at the 1953 Duke Game in Yankee Stadium. Coordinating with the Army Band we introduced the drum and trumpet “GO” chant.
(Editor’s note — Worth Lutz, Dukes quarterback said after the Game, “The savage cheering of Go!GO!GO! from the West Point stands placed our team in a nervous fright of tension and jitters.”)
The spirit of the Corps responded with yells and cheers that indeed brought the 12th man onto the field in such a way that the Army team accomplished goal line stands unequaled in Army history.
After the game, the Army officers in charge of the Corps did berate us for “peaking” the spirit too early. They asked us to calm it down. What they did not know is we had more spirit adventures far beyond the planning stage.
The Navy Goat’s shed was scouted that summer and plans were laid for “liberating” Bill The Goat. The General’s Commanding Transportation Corps and Philadelphia Flag Depot were contacted. For the first time in Army history, a helicopter fly over would be provided for the game flying a BEAT NAVY banner. The Cadet Uniform Store was contacted providing the Victory Flags of the previous years’ Army Victories to be displayed in the Mess Hall. Large rolls of butcher paper was painted up with various Beat Navy slogans to be planted on the Navy side of the field so as to engage the Middies in psychological warfare when they displayed signs for their own defeat.
We “liberated” Bill The Goat on the weekend before the game presenting him to the Corps at supper. They went wild, taking off their dress coats, stacking tables and cheering till they were horse. Higher Command determined that Bill The Goat must be returned to the Middies immediately. The Corps wanted Bill The Goat to be returned at the game. Unfortunately some cadets stormed South Guard Room to speak to the Commandant to make their demands known. Equally unfortunate, those first through the door was punished severely at a later date. Spirit is one thing -discipline is another.
On Army – Navy Game Day, the large Beat Navy Flag caused unstable helicopter flight so the side of the helicopter was whitewashed with BEAT NAVY for the fly over. The Army team ran onto the field over the BEAT NAVY flag. The tradition of the Victory Cannon and “camouflaged” jeep remain to this day. By the way, the Class of 1954 did BEAT NAVY.
At the Duke game when I first rolled in with the jeep, I slammed on the
breaks tearing up a lot of turf. Caught hell for that. During the game,
the score board did not work so I obtained some card board went up to
the Polo Grounds offices and out the window to post the score. The
radio broadcast done by Bill Stern could not be heard because the
cheering was so load. He said, “I have never seen or heard anything
like it, this is the greatest game in college history.” The Duke
cheerleaders came over because they asked, “How do you get the student
body so wonderfully behind the team?” I cheered so loud and jumped so
high I tore the muscles in my neck causing me to loose consensus. To
start the game and infect the cadets, Ben inflated some weather balloons
and floated a cadet bath robe to the heavens – a offering to the gods of
the game. Remember Vince Lombardy played a significant role in this
victory as an inspirational coach. After the game another cadet drove
the jeep back to WP but before he left he drove it to Times Square for
the Cadet Rally at Father Duffy’s statue. Of course you know Bob became
a pro football player for what is now the Jets.
The reason I built the Victory Cannon was when I asked the Army for a 75
Pack Howitzer the answers was, “Gould are you out of your mind – a
cannon for the Army team? They cost money – go build your own. Believe
it or not since I was born and reared on my Grandfathers circus and had
helped build a gun for a clown act, I knew exactly what to do. That gun
lasted for years till the Squad got a 75 Pack Howitzer which is what
they now use. Never knew what happened to the old German rocket gun.
Eddie Moses and I visited with Red Reader and had the Cheerleading Squad
become a team sport at least for a little while. I guess that ended
when the IG came looking for money to pay for the huge flag the Quarter
Master General had made for us at the flag depot in Philly. They opened
the factory just for us to make the flag that never flew from the
That winter when Navy visited the Corps for the Winter games that flag
was draped over Washington Hall. Over course they cut the ropes and
tossed it into the Hudson – never to be found again.
Of course there is more to the story than what I wrote. Ben Schemmer
“54 in the January Assembly wrote an article about stealing the goat
dedicating it to Alex Rupp (A-2) CL 55. Actually Ben did not steal the
goat. When he got there Scotty Wetzel “54 had it in the row boat
bringing it to shore. Scotty gave it to him and Alex. The driver was
from the Army band. A convertible. The goats horns tore the hell out
of the top. Ben promised the Army Band member to replace the top but
never did. Ben placed an add in the Army Times inviting the Navy to
witness Army Fire Power. Ed Moses became the Captain of the
Cheerleaders squad when Ben was sacked. Later Ben became the owner of
the Army Times. At the Navy Game, I dressed in a Knights Armed Vest from
the museum to be the first 12 Man on the field. Ben contacted the
father of Grace Kelly to get his horses for the game.
We had to remove the stain from the sad story of 1950-51
Editor’s note There is much more which Jay will add — Dedication of Patton’s Statue, the Silence, the Cadet demands over the Goat etc
Jay W. Gould III
Class 1954, Army Cheerleader
Of course Ben Schemmer and Alex Rupp – the guys you stole the goat have
passed on. I was supposed to go on the trip but was on the area with a
Actually Scotty Wetzel, who has also passed on got there before them. I
cannot remember all the guys who at various times helped on the squad.
Of course Eddie Moses was placed in Charge when Ben was sacked. Bob
Camp from ’55 was there most of the time. For the Navy game the squad
did add some more guys, but I do not remember who they were. I was very
busy with the Flag depot and the Helicopter. As you know the test on
the flag damm near caused us to crash. We landed in a lumberyard where
I got a bucket and brush with some white was and painted the side of the
copter with BEAT Navy in very large letters. The pilot flew back and
forth over Soldiers field till he had to leave for Fort Rucker.
Then I had to go back put on the armor from the museum and parade in
front of the Corps. I raised the Gray Jacket flag as the dress of the
day to the Corps cheers.
Selection for West Point, Honor Guards, and President Trumans visit to West Point to Address the Cadet Corps on General MacArthur’s Firing.
by Jay Gould ’54
The report in the news paper in the late ’40s said, “Enlist in the
reserve now or when you are drafted we will put you where we want to.”
I understood that because when my Dad was notified his number was coming up, he enlisted in the Navy – that was where he wanted to be. When I came home from working on my Grandfather’s circus that fall, my high school classmate neighbor Joe came over to the house, “Jay, you have got to enlist with us. We are going to get our picture in the paper, the Marine Corps recruiter promised.” My response was, “Joe are you nuts. You know what happened in WW II. The reserves got beat up. Look, you are going to the U of M with me. Sign up for ROTC; get all the training you can get. You’ll never get it in the reserve.” Joe and Larry signed up in the Marine Reserve any way while I took ROTC.
It was in ROTC that the Pershing Rifles Fraternity asked me to join, I won the Minute Man award from the newspaper, and Col Orr recruited me for West Point with an appointment from Senator Humphrey. I received my orders to report, on 5 July 1950. A couple weeks earlier, North Korea invaded South Korea. There was an intense storm so we swore the oath in the old Cadet Theater. By November Larry froze to death at Frozen Chosin, and Joe died of a chest wound. But they were not the only ones. The West Point Class of 1950 lost their graduation leave and shipped out. Many of them died or were wounded. The Superintendent of the Academy Major General Bryant Moore shipped out later that year.
It seemed that he had just left when the Corps of Cadets was informed
General Moore had been killed in combat, a helicopter crash. With daily war bulletins the ebb and flow was posted daily. ,p .
A2 had won the marching and drill competition so my company became the
designate Honor Company for all special services. In February the
weather at West Point can become intensely dark, rainy with gusts of
wind that is capable of chilling you to the bone. We were ordered to
saddle up in full dress with rain coats and hats to march to the chapel to be the Honor Guard for General Moore’s funeral. Before departing Central Area, our Company Captain gave us a demonstration of the Funeral March step and as a company we practiced it as we climbed the hill to the Cadet Chapel. There we were met by the Army Band who too was dressed appropriately for a General’s funeral. After a while we started the march toward the hallowed ground of the West Point Cemetery. We were escorting the General Caisson; the band’s muffled drums, our slow hesitating funeral step, rain whipping into our faces to honor a man who gave his life on the battle field for his country.
Before the Academy I had experienced many deaths of my family elders, but never like this with the emotions of a different kind. At the open grave we squared away to honor General Moore’s passing. As the volley thundered most amazingly the overcast skies parted and a shaft of brilliant sunlight streamed down on the casket as it was lowered in the grave. I took a very deep breath. How symbolic.
The US Army Band led us back to the Academy. When we left the cemetery the muffled drums continued, but as we gained distance and approached barracks the beat of the music changed. When we entered the Plain, the band began to play an almost joyous beat of the Graduation March as we Passed-In-Review. The music warmed my insides, I was glad I was a Cadet to have honored a combat hero.
The Korean conflict continued with the reports from the battlefield
listed many of those who had been a part of the Corps. The conflict of ideas between President Truman and General McArthur dominated the news. That conflict culminated in the firing of General McArthur. In the late afternoon on my way from quarters to the gym, a black sedan stopped in front of Washington Hall, a large man in a fedora and black coat opened the door for a small man dressed in the same way to step out. I recognized the President. Some what blazingly I turned around and walk back first saluting and then shaking the President’s hand.
That evening at Mess, President Harry Truman addressed the Corps to explain why he had fired McArthur, a conquering hero of WW II. His point was absolutely clear, “To be the nation established by our Constitution, the Commander and Chief elected by the people must be in absolute control of the military.” We all stood at attention as he departed for Washington.
Later MacArthur’s farewell speech and his artful writing honoring of the
Corps will never be forgotten, “Old soldiers never die, they just