Category Archives: Army Athletes

They gave on Saturday afternoon.

Kenneth E. Fields














Gary Steele

ESPN – Gary Steele’s Lasting Impact







Steele heading into Army Hall of Fame |

Sep 12, 2013 – Gary Steele still has every team picture from Army’s 1966, 1967 and 1968 football seasons. Steele stands out in the photos, not because of his 

2013 Army Sports Hall of Fame

Class of 1970
Football/Track and Field

Gary Steele starred in both football and track and field while at the Academy.

On the gridiron, Steele ranked as Army’s first African American to earn a varsity letter in the sport of football at West Point and garnered three in all. A second team Newspaper Enterprise Association All-American as a tight end, Steele was a 17th round draft choice of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions. Steele hauled in 25 passes for 346 yards and two scores during his first season at Army in 1966 and then registered 14 receptions for 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns the next year. His best season statistically was 1968 when he posted 27 catches for 496 yards and three touchdowns. During that year, he registered eight receptions for 156 yards against Penn State, shattering the single-game record previously held by the legendary “Lonely End,” Bill Carpenter.

Steele closed his career with 66 receptions for 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns. He helped Army to a pair of football victories over arch-rival Navy.

Steele also earned four varsity letters in track and field, two indoors and two outdoors. He established the Academy record in the high jump with a leap of 6-feet, 9-inches opposite Navy, a mark broken later that season.


Ray J Stecker







Stecker’s memorable run for the lone TD – Army 6 – Navy 0





1930 Army Navy Football Game Stock Footage HD



compiled from Pittsburgh Press, Dec 13, 1930 by grimmr22






















John K Waters



Duane Castro – RIP

Duane Stephen Castro
Date of Birth: August 4, 1954
Date of Death: April 28, 1980

I knew Duane well as I was a pilot in his unit at Ft. Bragg, NC when he was killed. Duane and I worked in the same office as he was the Supply Officer and I the Budget Officer. He and I flew many flights together as he enjoyed flying along on my OH-58A trips. At that time the OH-58’s were flown with one pilot so I took him along when I had an extra seat. He so loved flying and was a good pilot. I remember well the trip his accident occurred on as I had flown that same aircraft the day before on the same mission. The weather was so bad I cancelled the mission he was flying that day. There is no way I was going to slug my way back through that weather on the following day again. How he ended up flying that day I will never know. It was a sad day I remember well and he was so missed for all these years. I think of him often.
Eddie L. Hill

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Turk Griffith

turk3_19 copy





150 Tackle who wore low cuts. Army A Cow and firstie Year. Killed in Vietnam

Thurston A. Griffith Jr.

Thurston Algee Griffith Jr.., was born in Sante Fe, New Mexico, on 17 March 1940. He and his family moved first to Raton, and then to Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he attended high school, was active in church and Sunday school work at the Methodist church, and was a member of the Boy Scouts of America.

At Los Alamos High School, “Turk’s” interests were varied. He participated in sports, stood 12th in his class scholastically, and was awarded the Junior Citizenship Award in 1958. He was a member of the National Honor Society; a delegate to Boy’s State; president of the senior class and the Los Alamos Student Council, as well as the North Central District Student Council. He was also a talented amateur photographer.

Athletics were important to Turk from the time he played little league baseball to the time he graduated from West Point. Swimming, ice skating, ice hockey, and fishing were all a major part of his extracurricular activities. He was co-captain of his high school football team and lettered in track, baseball, and football. At West Point he played football on the 150-pound team, and was named on the Eastern Intercollegiate All-League team for 1961 as a tackle.

When Turk was a junior in high school his father, Turk Griffith Sr., was killed in an accidental explosion, and Turk Jr., assumed responsibilities beyond his years. His friends and neighbors said that Turk was “born to be a leader,” and that his perseverance, integrity, and high moral standards would certainly help him in His ambition to go to West Point.

When Thurston A. ‘Turk” Griffith Jr., was elected the “outstanding senior boy” at Los Alamos High School, he was also voted the “most likely to succeed.” He did succeed in his desire to go to West Point, and when he graduated in June 1962, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps. He then completed a series of training courses fitting him for the Army’s Special Forces arid an assignment to the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, where he lost his life on 17 January 1965.

In Vietnam, Turk was greatly admired by his associates, both American and Vietnamese. After his death, which occurred while on a combat patrol for which he volunteered, the Republic of Vietnam awarded him the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm Leaf Cluster and the Vietnamese National Order Medal Fifth Class. Also awarded to Turk posthumously were the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for valor.

Turk’s many friends in Los Alamos petitioned the Los Alamos School Board to name the new high school gymnasium after him, and they were successful in their appeal. It is a fitting memorial for a fine young man. a New Mexican who gave his life in the war in Vietnam.

At Fort Gordon, Georgia, a multi-storied bachelor officers’ quarters building has been named Griffith Hall in honor of Turk. The building, scheduled for completion in mid-

1966, was dedicated to Lieutenant Griffith in memory of his tours of duty at that post and in recognition of his “outstanding service to the U.S. Army and the ultimate sacrifice of his life to his country in Vietnam. …”

First Lieutenant Thurston A. Griffith Jr., is remembered proudly by his mother, Mrs. W. O. Connor Jr., his brother, Dudley Griffith, and his host of friends.

Requiescat in pace.

A Friend”

Note – Jim Ellis asked Harry Hagerty to sign for Turk on the Class of ’62 listing in the ’62 Room – Arvn Gym.
(The Class listing is just under the pictorial of General MacArthur’s expectation of us – Duty Honor Country – May 1962) the 2d picture of the ’62 Room.

Shadow box and picture from Virtual Wall

HS Gymnasium Dedication and program from Jim Heldman’s ’62 webpage

Charles R Monk Meyer

Heisman Trophy runner-up 1935, College Football Hall Of Fame 1987

















“Pound for pound, there were few backs more threatening in a broken field than Army’s Monk Meyer.”



From Go Army Sports:

Class of 1937

Charles “Monk” Meyer earned a pair of varsity letters in football, three in basketball and one in lacrosse during a stellar athletic career at West Point. He finished second in the initial Heisman Trophy voting to Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago and retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of Brigadier General.

Meyer received the Silver Anniversary Award from Sports Illustrated in 1961 and collected the Gold Medal Award from the National Football Foundation 1987.

As a standout quarterback, Meyer helped Army to a 28-6 victory over Navy in 1935 at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field and played in the 1937 College All-Star Game. Among Meyer’s single-game highlights was a 172-yard passing performance during a 27-16 victory opposite Columbia and future National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman in 1936.

Meyer helped Army to six wins in each of his two seasons.

On the hardwood, Meyer earned three varsity letters. He served as team captain in 1937 and contributed to squads that posted a combined 24-18 record, including a pair of wins opposite service academy rival Navy.

Meyer was also a member of Army’s lacrosse team and earned a varsity letter in 1937. The Black Knights finished 9-1 that season and ended the year with a 6-5 victory at Navy. Wins against Hobart, Yale, Syracuse, Penn State and Johns Hopkins also highlighted the campaign.

‘Monk’ Meyer: From Allentown and West Point gridiron to heroism on the battlefield
Allentown High alumnus led Army against Notre Dame 75 years ago this week.
November 16, 2010|By Evan Burian
Allentown Morning Call – Nov 16, 2010

When Army and Notre Dame meet for the 50th time on Saturday in the new Yankee Stadium in New York, all the history and lore that surround this colorful collegiate rivalry will spring to life.

“Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame” with the legendary George Gipp in 1919 and 1920. Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen of 1924 and Grantland Rice’s classic lead to his story on the game, “Outlined against a blue, gray, October sky the Four Horsemen rode again.” And Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne’s inspirational halftime “Win one for the Gipper” pep talk in 1928 that resulted in an upset Irish victory.

“On, Brave Old Army Team” with coach Earl “Red” Blaik’s powerful and undefeated war-time machine led by Doc Blanchard “Mr. Inside” and Glenn Davis “Mr. Outside” of 1944-46. It was when three All-Americans — halfbacks Pete Dawkins, Bob Anderson and Northampton’s Bob Novogratz at guard — led a Black Knight conquest in 1958.

And 75 years ago this year in the 1935 contest, it was Allentown’s Charles “Monk” Meyer of Army whose name was added to this golden honor roll.

Although small in stature at 5-9 and 150 pounds, and looking more like the team’s student manager, “Monk” Meyer was indeed a West Point football star. And like many other Army graduates, he went on to display heroism on the battlefield for his country.

Charles Robert “Monk” Meyer played football, basketball and baseball at Allentown High School for the nationally recognized coach, J. Birney Crum. As a single-wing halfback in 1930, Meyer was the club’s top scorer with 12 touchdowns as he helped the Canaries to a perfect 11-0 season.

The Canary and Blue juggernaut rolled up 338 points that season while giving up only 18. The Morning Call headlined Meyer’s exploits after the Thanksgiving Day triumph over Bethlehem as “Little, But Oh My!”

As the son of Lt. Col. Hermie Meyer and born at West Point, N.Y., on May 1, 1911, “Monk” was tagged by birth and tradition to serve his country with a career in the military.

Monk grew up at various Army bases throughout the nation and even in the Philippines as his father received assignments during his military career. The Meyer family relocated to the Lehigh Valley area in time for Monk to play football, basketball and baseball at Allentown High.

After leaving Allentown High, Meyer prepped at Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill Academy and entered West Point in 1933 as a player who could run, pass, kick and play defense. For two seasons, 1935 and 1936, the “150-pound Mighty Mite” was the big gun of the Army attack for coach Gar Davidson.

Touchdown pass

In 1935 against Notre Dame before a capacity crowd of 78,114 in Yankee Stadium, it was Meyer’s 41-yard first-quarter TD pass and stellar performance in a 6-6 tie that brought him into the limelight. The press recognition eventually led to his All-American mention and then to his being named runner-up to the University of Chicago’s Jay Berwanger in the first-ever Heisman Trophy vote that year.

However, Meyer’s fondest memory of the season was the stalemate with the Fighting Irish and what happened after the game. Meyer said he was resting by the locker-room door when someone started knocking on it. Opening the door, Meyer was startled to see Notre Dame head coach Elmer Layden, one of the immortal Four Horsemen, along with Irish players.

Layden said, “Hey kid, go get Monk Meyer, we want to congratulate him on the great game he played against us.”

When the stunned Meyer replied that he was Monk Meyer, Layden continued, “Look kid, we’re not fooling around, we want to talk to Monk Meyer.’ “

Meyer then called over some of his teammates to verify to Layden that he indeed was Monk Meyer.

All the astonished Layden could mutter while looking at the smallish Meyer was, “Gee whiz.”

In 1936, Monk had another big day in Yankee Stadium. This time the Army ace outdueled famed Columbia passer and future Chicago Bear Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman as the Black Knights prevailed, 27-16, over the Lions.

A pair of football shoes

In the book, “Coach Birney Crum and Allentown High,” attorney Ray Brennen, Meyer’s Allentown High classmate and lifelong friend, said of him: “He almost didn’t have a football career at Army let alone the resulting fame and honors because he was just one of over a hundred players trying out for the team when he got to West Point and a little guy to boot.

“It was Birney who got Monk a pair of football shoes that fit him properly so he could show his running skills, and it was Birney, while watching practice, who told the Army coaches to take Monk off the fifth team and put him in with the first unit to show them that he could get the job done.”

Meyer graduated from West Point in 1937 and led troops in the Pacific Theater under the overall command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur during World War II and again in Korea, and was wounded twice.

Among the numerous decorations he received were two Silver Stars and, for “extraordinary heroism,” the Distinguished Service Cross. It is the second-highest decoration in the United States, just below the Medal of Honor.