Tag Archives: 1956

1956 Team

1956 Army 5-3-1
1956/12/01 Army 7 – Navy 7 T

Coach: Earl Henry “Red” Blaik (February 15, 1897 – May 6, 1989)

Dartmouth 1934-1940 – 45-15-4
Army: 1941-1958 – 121-33-10
Overall: 166-48-14
All-American, 1919
AFCA Coach of the Year (1946)
College Football Hall of Fame Inducted in 1964






























articles provided by Russ “Skip” Grimm – Class of ’76

May 21, 2003

Army vs Navy, 1956 – A look back at the 1956 Army-Navy game.

One of the most exciting Army-Navy games in history took place in 1956 and resulted in a 7-7 tie.

Army and Navy fought to a 7-7 deadlock today in their fifty-seventh football meeting. An overflow crowd of 102,000 at Municipal Stadium and a nationwide television audience saw the midshipmen score in the fourth period to match a third quarter tally by the cadets.

The stalemate left both sides feeling somewhat letdown. Favored Navy announced the receipt and refusal of a Cotton Bowl bid after the game. The invitation was rejected because Naval Academy officials did not feel that the team’s record of six victories, one defeat and two ties justified a post-season appearance.

Army’s disappointment came from its failure to reap a greater yield from a derisive statistical superiority. Eight fumbles, five of which were lost, proved ruinous to the cadets’ hopes of matching their 1956 triumph. The touchdowns each came an the follow-up of breaks forced by the hard
hitting defensive play that marked the bitterly fought contest. Bob Kyasky, the game’s most effective ball-carrier, slashed over Navy’s right tackle from four yards out for Army’s touchdown at 3:57 of the third quarter. Dave Bourland’s 5-yard pass interception run put the
ball in position for this thrust.

Follows Fumble Recovery

Dick Dagampat, who distinguished himself in many ways for Navy, rammed thru the middle of Army’s line from point blank range at 7:35 of the fourth period for the midshipman’s score. He went over on the seventh play following John Kanuch’s recovery of an Army fumble on the Army 27-yard line. Dick Murtland’s successful conversion place-kick for Army was matched by Ned Oldham of Navy.

Army, on the march through much of the game, out gained Navy from scrimmage, 237 yards to 132, and made twelve first downs to Navy’s five. The play figures, which show seventy-five plays for the cadets to fifty-one for the midshipmen, further reflect the offensive superiority of the Black Knights.
But all this good work was undone by Army’s repeated fumbling, a habit that has plagued the cadets on previous occasions this season. They bobbled away the ball on Navy’s 30 and their own 20 in the second period, and on their 39 and 27 and Navy’s 27 in the fourth quarter.

In addition, recovered fumbles interrupted the continuity of several promising Army marches. The cadets also were held for downs on Navy’s 20 in the first period and were brought up short by a pass interception after reaching Navy’s 27 in the third period.

Navy, known as a ball-control team, was so stymied by Army’s defense that it crossed midfield only once under its own momentum, that penetration occurring on a long punt return late in the second quarter. However, in moving to their tying touchdown, the midshipmen made one of the most impressive marches of the contest. They actually covered 32 yards, rather than 27, having been set back five yards on a backfield in motion penalty on a play that produced an apparent touchdown from the 2-yard line.

The huge crowd, which gathered early in order to witness the colorful pre-game parades of the corps of cadets and the brigade of midshipmen, had anticipated a more open game.

However, it was soon established that this was to be a grim, bitter offensive duel in which breaks probably would prove decisive-as they did. Army hammered away effectively at the tackles from its T-formation inside drive series, and with quick straight ahead thrusts by Kyasky, from fullback and Murtland and Mike Morales, from the halfbacks.

Spikes Army’s Guns

But the cadets were unable to produce many of their hoped-for long gainers against Navy’s rugged line and the alert midshipmen secondaries spiked Army’s guns when it attempted to go overhead. Many tried to spread Army’s defense by using varying flanker alignments but could make no consistent progress on the ground or in the air. Only once besides on its scoring march were the midshipmen able to put together two first downs. They made only one first down in the first
half. The temperature was 36 degrees and leaden skies, later to lighten, and a capricious wind compounded the seeping chill as the game started. Army won the toss and elected to receive. Morales bobbled Bob Reifsnyder’s deep kick-off into the end zone but recovered and brought the ball
out to the 10.

With Kyasky, Murtland and Morales alternating on drive series plays, the Cadets clicked off two first downs. But as they approached midfield, a pass missed connections and they had to kick.

Kyasky Breaks Loose

Navy could make no progress and Army soon had the ball again on its 40. Kyasky and Murtland drove to a first down on Navy’s 48 but the midshipmen dug in on their 41 and forced Army to kick again. Once more, Army pinned Navy deep in its territory and regained possession on its 43. It appeared that Navy had the cadets stopped at midfield but with three yards to go on fourth down, Kyasky broke loose for 22 yards to Navy’s 28 on a fake kick sweep around his left end.

Three thrusts at the line by Murtland, Kyasky and Bourland picked up eight yards but Navy’s line smothered Kyasky on fourth down and the midshipmen took the ball on their 26. Chet Burchett broke away around left end for fifteen yards to give Navy its first substantial gain but the midshipmen were obliged to punt after reaching their 43.

Army again moved the ball. From their own 32, the cadets clicked off three first downs. A pass by Bourland to Art Johnson with whom he a also had connected earlier on the march, put Army on
Navy’s 35. But after Kyasky had gained two yards, Murtland fumbled under the jarring impact of a tackle and Tony Anthony pounced on the ball for Navy on the 30.

Forced to Kick Again

There was an exchange of punts, then Navy had to kick again, from its 38. Earle Smith, Navy’s captain and right end, who played much of the contest with a broken bone in his right hand, got off a long boot. Kyasky elected to let it roll, but Johnson dropped back from end to block, took a swipe at the ball and touched it. The omnipresent Dagampat recovered for Navy to set the midshipmen up on Army’s 20.

ARMY (7)

Left Ends -Johnson, Warner. Left Tackles- Reid, Wilmoth. Left Guards
-Fadel, Bishop. Centers -Kernan, Svetecz. Right Guards -Slater, Rowe.
Right Tackles -Goodwin, Melnlk. Right Ends -Stephenson, Saunders.
Quarterbacks -Bourland, Darby. Left Halbacks -Murtland, Roesler, Kennedy. Right
Halfbacks -Morales, Cygler. Fullbacks -Kyasky, Barta.

NAVY (7)

Left Ends -Jokanovich, Kamuch. Left Tackles -Anthony, Meisel. Left
Guards -Stremic, Caldwell. Centers -Whitmire, McElwee. Right Guards -Hower,
Fritzinger. Right Tackes -Relfsnyder, Martinez. Right Ends -Smith,
Ruth. Quarterbacks -Forrestal, Flood. Left Halfbacks -Oldham, Hurst. Right
Halfbcks -Burchett, Swanson.Fullbacks -Dagampat, Monto.

ARMY 0 0 7 0-7
Navy 0 0 0 7-7

Army scoring – Touchdown: Kyasky (4, run)
Conversion: Murtland.

Navy scoring – Touchdown: Dagampat (1-foot plunge)

Referee- Albert J Booth Jr. Yale.
Umpire- Leonard Dobbins Fordham
Linesman J. Walter Coffee Rutgers
Field Judge- Howard C. Fyth Carnegie Tech
Electric Clock Operator -Robert E. Owings Johns Hopkins


Russell Mericle

The Plebe Team – Fall of 1952

Russ was a member of the 1953 Football Team

He earned 2 Army A’s in Football.

’56 Titans

Click on the Cells

Vann to Holleder

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Ralph Chesnauskas

9 Army A’s — Football, Baseball and Hockey — earning one in every season of the 3 years he was eligible to play. Ralph was an All American Guard in 1954. He was also the Captain of the 1955 – 1956 Hockey Team.

He played in the 1955 North – South Game.

At Graduation he received the AAA (The Triple A) Award for rendering the most valuable service to athletics during his Cadet Years.

Ralph receiving the Triple A Award on 2 June 1956 from Lt. General Bryan Superintendant USMA

In 2009 Ralph was selected for the Army Sports Hall of Fame

Chesnauskas, a 1956 graduate, won the prestigious AAA Award following a stellar career that included nine letters, three each in football, hockey and baseball.

On the gridiron, Chesnauskas was a guard who earned first-team All-American honors in 1954, was selected to participate in the 1955 North-South Shrine Game and was a part of 18 victories.

Chesnauskas, who served as hockey team captain as a senior, netted seven points off of four goals and three assists and was part of 29 wins as a standout defenseman for Hall of Fame coach Jack Riley.

Ralph and Rockey Marciano, Heavy Weight Champion of the World 1952 – 1956.

<img src=”http://forwhattheygaveonsaturdayafternoon.com/photos/ralph-colblaik.jpg&#8221;

Ralph 63 next to Col Blaik 1954 Army South Carolina Game.

Col Blaik telling Ralph to stay at West Point

3 Army A’s in Baseball.

Ralph is #12

(Front L-R) Oats, Ofgant, McCormank, Harvy, O’Connor, Sturgis — (Standing) Boudreau, Chesnauskas, Hickey, and Coach Riley.

55-56 Team — Ralph Chesnauskas – Brockton, Mass; Edward Hickey – Boston, Mass; John Evans – Baltimore , Md; Pat Mellin – St Paul, Minn; James Dunn – Albany, NY

Coach Riley’s son 4 1/2 year old Jay.

The Duke Game.

January 18, 1981 North Shore News Paper page 25 (Note there is an error – Pete Dawkins did not earn 9 Army A’s)


September 11, 2009
When former three-sport standout Ralph Chesnauskas proudly walks to the podium tonight for his induction into the U.S. Military Academy Sports Hall of Fame, it will open a vault full of cherished memories.

Chesnauskas, a 1956 West Point graduate, enjoyed a star-studded collegiate experience that included nine letters — three each in football, hockey and baseball. He will put an exclamation point on a playing career that occurred over 50 years ago.

“I was honored to get the call from Army AD Kevin Anderson that I’ve been selected to the Army Hall of Fame,” said Chesnauskas, a full-time resident of Cummaquid. “During my time at West Point, there were many lessons to be learned that came in useful later on in life.”

In the fall, Chesnauskas was a two-way player at guard and defensive tackle, earned first-team All-American honors in 1954, was selected to the 1955 North-South Shrine Game and was an integral part of 18 victories and three national Top 20 rankings.

The rugged 6-0, 207-pound Brockton native played for legendary Col. Earl “Red” Blaik, head coach at Army from 1941-58, who posted a 121-32-10 record and won national championships in 1944-45, led by Heisman Trophy winners Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard.

Blanchard, nicknamed “Mr. Inside” during his playing days, was one of Army’s assistant coaches in the early and mid-1950’s, along with future LSU coach Paul Dietzel, 1947 Outland Trophy winner Joe Steffy and Vince Lombardi, who captured five NFL titles and the Super Bowls I and II as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

“Coach Blaik was a great strategist, but was aloof and very low key — he almost never hollered at his players,” Chesnauskas said. “But Coach Lombardi was just the opposite — he was always yelling and screaming and was a gregarious person.”

Army recovered from an honor code scandal in 1951 that saw many frontline players dismissed from the squad and the Academy. But after records of 2-7 and 4-4-1, the Cadets posted winning seasons of 7-1-1, 7-2 and 6-3 against the likes of Michigan, Syracuse, Penn State, Tulane, Yale, Dartmouth, Navy and previously undefeated Duke during Chesnauskas’ tenure.

After playing on the interior his first three seasons, Chesnauskas moved to tackle and end in 1955 after talented southpaw Don Holleder switched from end to quarterback. Holleder was later killed in 1967 during the Vietnam War.

A classmate of General Norman Schwarzkopf, Chesnauskas served as hockey team captain as a senior, scored four goals and three assists and was part of 29 wins as a standout defenseman for Hall of Fame and 1960 Olympic Gold Medal coach Jack Riley, who lives in Marstons Mills.

“When he arrived at West Point, he couldn’t even skate,” said the charismatic Riley, who will be on hand to see his former player inducted. “By his senior year he became captain and a pretty good defenseman who would hit anything that moved on the ice.”

During his three-year baseball career as an outfielder, the Cadets won 30 games, including a victory against Navy.

After a rough start academically, Ralph became a Dean’s List student and Academic All-American his senior year and became friends with Army halfback Pete Dawkins, who would capture the 1958 Heisman Trophy,

Upon graduation from West Point, Chesnauskas went to tank training at Fort Knox and jump school at Fort Benning, before being stationed in West Germany until his honorable discharge from the Army in 1959.

He worked at Gillette for 38 years, where he became vice president of engineering. After living in Peabody for 35 years and summering in Marstons Mills since 1980, he moved to Cummaquid full-time with his wife seven years ago. He works outside in their garden, splits and cuts wood and is just seven pounds over his playing weight a half-century ago at West Point.

In addition to Chesnauskas, the Army Hall of Fame Class of 2009 includes current Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Carpenter, Tracy Hanlon, Ray Murphy, Nicki Robbins, Jack Rust and Thomas Truxtun.

They will all be recognized during Army’s football game against Duke tomorrow at Michie Stadium — right on the field not surprisingly named after Coach Blaik.

John Garner Jr. can be contacted at jgarner@capecodonline.com.

Bob Farris

Bob, as a Cow was Captain of the 1954 Team. In 1953 he played the entire 60 minutes against Navy and Pennsylvania and was in for all but three minutes in the Duke and Tulane Games. He played tackle on offense and linebacker on defense.

General MacArthur lauded his play and academic standing. Col Blaik credited Bob as one of the leaders who instilled the “Will to Win” in the “53 Team. On 3 successive Saturdays he was voted lineman of the week in the Sports Writers Poll.

He was blinded in one eye the entire 2d half of the Navy Game, yet never came out. How did America make such men? Or was it simply that Teams “Will to Win” that drove each player?

The Team he Captained but was unable to play for

This photo of Bob and Col Blaik appeared in the Feb 22, 1981 New York Times

November 9, 1988

General James Van Fleet

5210 Van Fleet Road

Polk City, FL 33868

Subject: Army-Navy 1953

Dear General Van Fleet,

The Army-Navy 1988 game is coming up. Let me go back 35 years to Army-Navy 1953 and recall an evening we shared.

It was the night before the big game, at the West Point Mess Hall. A young plebe sat, stood, and shouted with 2400 other cadets as a great general stood in the poop deck to exhort and rally us to victory. I was the plebe; you were the general. It was one of those nights you never forget.

Here was a lowly plebe, — coming off the rigors of Summer’s Beast Barracks and Autumn’s academics and sports, — all of a sudden, in one night, joining into one with the whole Corps and a general.

Let’s look at the special circumstances fueling the night. Army had lost three years straight, and were in a re-building phase. A fantastic crop of sophomores shored up some fine juniors and seniors to produce a successful season, and cause the Corps to feel we could take the big one, — Navy. Our sophomores included future All-Americans like Bob Farris, Pat Uebel and Ralph Chesnauskas, who joined All-Americans like Don Holleder and Tommy Bell. A solid Army team had again come together under Coach Red Blaik.

Circumstance #2 was the week-before activities. These included a special, creative display by each of the 24 companies. My Company L-2 proudly extolled the gridiron prowess of a company member, with a large, well-engineered device depicting our Big 55, Bob Farris, scrubbing the Navy goat. The device, about 8′ tall, was powered by L-2 plebes lying on their backs driving a bicycle-like mechanism. For seven days before, for an hour before supper, L-2 plebes taking turns had #55 going up and down, dunking an scrubbing Billy. This was a distinct privilege, where a plebe could do his part.

Circumstance #3 was the possession of Billy, the Navy goat. The capture was engineered by Firstie Ben Schemmer, my Co. L-2 platoon leader. Ben earlier that night had called his plebes into his room to tell the story. When asked how he found the goat, Ben said, “I followed my nose.” On the return to West Point the goat had poked its horns through the convertible car’s roof to stare at a startled gas station attendant in Maryland pumping gas. Ben paraded Billy through the Mess Hall to the delight and wild cheers of the Corps.

The fourth, and crowning Circumstance was the appearance Friday night right after supper of WW II and Korean War General James Van Fleet. A real live hero general in the same room. Wow. And never could I have anticipated how in the next hour one person, namely you, could fire up the team and the Corps into such a frenzy. I anticipated a solid, driving speech, — somewhat “proper.” To my surprise we instead got a cheerleader just perfect for that special occasion. In just one hour, you took a team and Corps that dared to think they had a chance against favored Navy and molded them into a tightly knit unit that KNEW they would beat Navy.

I remember vividly how you started out at T=0 in full uniform. Then you dared take your jacket off. Out of uniform, I thought. This daring, bold move triggered off a receptive Corps. “He means business.” Next came rolled up sleeves. The Corps decibel level further increased and more cadet stored energy was converted to heat energy. The poop deck got hotter. You loosened your tie. More cheers. Off came the tie, and with each such action you yelled out fighting words. The noise and activity level from T=0 to T=1 hour followed mathematically a straight line having a steep, positive slope. Graphics 101. You provided the ultimate at T=59 minutes when right before our eyes you took off your shirt and uncovered a white tee shirt with a big Army A! You thereby caused the Corps to reach its’ absolute, upper physical limits. The noise, jumpings, arm flailings, jaw openings, stompings, and adrenaline flows were at max max.

A great general had once again done his job. He took a corps of men, who had potential but were somewhat tentative, and molded them into a winning, fighting team.

I don’t have to remind you of the big 20-7 Army victory the next day in Philadelphia, a major upset, against a tough, great Navy team.

My immediate reward was falling out in the Mess Hall for a full week. Big stuff to a plebe. My long-term reward, as you can see here, is a wonderful remembrance. A remembrance of a great general coming together with an impressionable plebe. I thank you for that remembrance.

As you live your Florida retirement, know that we are thinking of you. Know that the many positive experiences you produced throughout your career are re-lived. Know that each year, on the Friday evening before the big game, 2400 cadets will be seeing the big “A” on the big man.

Go Army !!!

James H. Morgan
Co. L-2, Class ’57x

Pete Lash

Joe Steffy said COL Blaik had 2 great moments in football. one was the 93 yard touchdown by Rip Rowan in the A-N game.

The other was a touchdown run to win the game against Navy in 1955. RB Pete Lash ran for 30-40 yards to paydirt during which every Navy player had a shot at him, but he run through them all. Joe said that Lash was a walk-on. Small and played high school FB; Joe said he really did not have the attributes of a great player. BUT, he was tenacious and worked harder than anyone on the team. He succeeded in making the starting team his senior year. Went on to become a three star general.

It was the Fall of 1953. Years later Earl Blaik was to write of that Season – – “For two years these boys had seen the roughest action. They had lived with the coaching lash, dirt, blood, and defeat.”

Pete started the season on the B squad. One day at practice they were running the next week’s opponents plays against the Second Team – A Squad Defense — and doing quite well. Col Blaik came over, watched for a few minutes, blew his whistle and had two B Squaders change jerseys with A Squad players. From that day on Pete was on the A Squad.

After the jersey exchange Pete was sent over to where the backs were working with Vince Lombardi, who asked Pete if he knew the plays — which of course he didn’t but faked it — and managed to get by with only a little of Coach Lombardi’s sarcasm.

It was Col Blaik’s message that day to every player and it got their attention and made practices more competitive.

A little over 5 years later Col Blaik retired. Joe Steffy, Class of ’49, Army’s only Outland Trophy Winner asked his Coach what were his best memories of the 18 Army Navy Games. He mentioned two, one of which was Pete running through, around or over every Navy Player on the Field in the Fall of 1955.

Pat Uebel



3 Touchdowns as a Yearling!









articles provided by Russ “Skip” Grimm – Class of ’76

Norman Schwarzkopf

awaiting data

Jack Nicholson


Donald Walter Holleder


For the Good of the Team, He took a step back from his All American End Position to Quarterback the Army Team – beating a great Navy Team

As Doc Hinger remembers that day. As the battle progressed I treated wounded soldiers and helped to move them to the edge of the jungle where soldiers from the night defensive position could load them onto Med-Evac ships. During one of these trips a Major who I did not know appeared on the scene with four or five soldiers. He saw that I was a medic and shouted “Come on doc, there are more wounded out there, let’s go get them”. The Major took the point position and led the way up a marshy vee of thigh to waist high grass. He advanced about 75 meters when automatic weapon fire from a tree at the edge of the jungle cut him down. Under covering fire from another soldier I moved to him and began treatment of his multiple chest wounds, but he died in my arms a few seconds later. I learned the next day that the Major was the Operations Officer. I will never forget his valor in his attempt to rescue my wounded comrades. I saw a lot of heroic acts by many soldiers that day, but his disregard for his own safety, to save others lives will live with me forever. That Major was an Army Football All American. As he unselfishly gave to his team, he gave to the Black Lions that day.

Class of 1956 Recognition of Don’s Achievements



Black Lion Award


The Black Lion Award is given in memory of Major Don Holleder, former West Point All-American who died in combat in Vietnam on October 17, 1967 and the brave men of the Black Lions – the 28th Infantry Regiment – who died with him that day.

Any youth, middle school or high school team is invited to participate and present the award. In Don Holleder’s honor, the Army Football Club presents the Black Lions Award annually to a member of the Army football team.

The Black Lion Award is NOT an individual award in the same sense as a Most Valuable Player award, (although it certainly could go to a team’s MVP).

It is intended to go to the player on his team who best personifies team play –

“who best exemplifies the character of Don Holleder: leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and – above all – an unselfish concern for the team ahead of himself.”

Enroll your team now – There is no cost to participate in the Black Lion Award. The Black Lion Award program is privately funded and administered and is not affiliated with any commercial enterprise or connected with any branch of the United States armed forces.


Holleder Stadium


Holleder Memorial Stadium


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Holleder Memorial Stadium was a 20,000 seat football stadium in Rochester, New York.
Located on Ridgeway Avenue, at the south east corner of Mount Read Blvd., it was built in 1949 to serve as the home of Aquinas Institute football.
Originally named Aquinas Stadium, it was renamed in 1974 in memory of former Aquinas and Army quarterback Don Holleder, who was killed in 1967 in an ambush 40 miles outside of Saigon, throwing himself into enemy fire to save fallen comrades.
The first ever football game for the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League was held at the stadium; on August 13, 1960, the Bills won an exhibition game against the Denver Broncos.

Holleder Stadium was the home pitch for professional soccer’s Rochester Lancers, who played at Holleder from 1967-69 as members of the American Soccer League, and 1970-80 while in the NASL. The largest crowd to ever attend a Lancers game at Holleder Stadium was on August 21, 1977, when 20,005 people watched the great Pela lead his Cosmos to a 2-1 victory over the hometown Lancers in the first round of the 1977 NASL playoffs.
Holleder Stadium also hosted the Rochester Flash soccer team, who called Holleder Stadium home in 1981-82 (ASL) and 1984 (USL).

Major Concerts

The Grateful Dead played a concert at Holleder Stadium on September 1, 1979. Journey played a concert at Holleder Stadium on June 5, 1983. The Police played a concert at Holleder Stadium on August 7, 1983.
It was torn down in 1985. An industrial park, named Holleder Technology Park in honor of the historic stadium, now sits on the old site.

Nomination of the ’53 Army Team for West Point’s Sports Hall of Fame

The 13 Page Nomination of the 1953 Army Football Team for West Point’s Sports Hall of Fame is at


The Nomination Letters by the Classes of 1954, 1955, 1957 and 1962 along with separate Nomination Letters by 3 Members of the Class of 1956 who were major contributors to the Team’s Success and Bob Mischak’s Nomination Letter are at


Don in the center

Peter Vann

Peter Graduated as West Point’s all-time passing leader, playing 4 years of Varsity Football. He compilied Academy records for completions (174), attempts (372) and touchdowns (24)

Inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame September 17, 2010

I have spoken with Peter and exchanged correspondance over the last several years and was looking forward to meeting him at his induction into the Army Sports Hall of Fame on the 17th & 18th of September. Many of us were saddened to learn of his death on 30 May 2010. Several days earlier the Superintendant had informed Peter of his selection into West Point’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Below is a link to a ’56 Class tribute to Peter


Editors note – Remember quarterbacks did not necessarily come out on defense. It was Peter defending in the end zone, who knocked away the pass from Gerry Berger (Duke’s Quarterback) to Worth Lutz, (Duke’s All American – starting Quarterback)in the final play of the 53 Duke Game.

Peter was asked to comment on Vince Lombardi‘s demands relating to ball handling. The 53 Howitzer and Pointer Articles from the fall of 53 repeatly mention Peter’s ability to deceive, to excuite the fake as Vince Lombardi demanded.

Lombardi spent hours on the field and in private sessions talking about faking. feeding and fleeing. These were the royal three “F’s” of Lombardi. The fleeing part is very important to protect your hide. If anything was unique about Lombardi was his attention to details almost to a point of being paranoia. These sentiments were commented on by most of his players at Green Bay. They used the term fanatic when describing Lombardi’s attention to detail. My..My… Col Blaik had a certain interest in details didn’t he. There is a letter from Lombardi to Blaik when he was at Green Bay saying. “my football is your football and I pray to God I am doing it right”. That is a great compliment to Col Blaik.

Interestingly when you did not follow Lombardi’s detailed instructions you found out what the wrath of Lombardi was all about.

The three “F’s” expanded cover taking the ball from center or direct snap and faking to one or two backs to cause distraction to the defense. Once your faking has been accomplished the ball would be fed to a back or passed and then the most important issue is get the hell out of the way of some line backer or defensive guy wanting to separate your vertebra.

The Coaches

During Peter’s last 3 years under center resulted in an 18-7-2 record.

His 24 career passing touchdowns (currently 3d in total) stood as an Academy record for 23 years; broken by Leamon Hall in 1977.

Peter still ranks among Army’s career leaders in completions (7th), attempts (8th) and yards (4th).

He is recognized as one of the individuals most responsible for leading the Army Football program back to National prominence after the cheating scandal of 1951.

Col Blaik in his book “You Have to Pay the Price” referred to Peter as one of the 2 best passers he coached at Army.

Army went 14-3-1 during the 1953 & 1954 seasons earing the Lambert Trophy in 1953.

Led Nation in completion percentage much of 1953 season.

Led Nation with 166.5 passing efficiency rating during 1954 season.

Established NCAA single season record (since surpased) for most yards per completion (23.2)

Established 9 Army passing records.

Played a major role in successful transition of Don Holleder from All American End to Quarterback for the 1955 season. (Peter’s eligibility was completed at the end of 1954)

Currently ranks fourth on Army’s single season touchdown passes record behind Leamon Hall 2003 & 2005 seasons and Arnold Galiffa 1949.

Peter ranks 9th in single season completion percentage – 55.7% in 1953.

Note — The following article has an error — On the kickoff, “Norm Stephen” charging down the field was the one who knocked the ball lose and it was Lowell Sisson who cought the fumble.


1954 Season

The 1954 Army Backfield

Backfield — Tommy Bell, Pat Uebel, Peter Vann, “Bob Kyasky”

Army Starters 1954

Backfield L to R — Bob Farris, Tommy Bell, Peter Vann, Pat Uebel, “Bob Kyasky”

Line — Don Holleder, “Godwin Ordway”, Ralph Chesnauskas, “Billy Chance”, “Flay Goodwin”, Dick Stephenson, “Arthur Johnson”

Editor’s Note – In the second last game in 1953 Bob Farris got hit very hard and the net result was a detached retina. Bob was the non playing captain of the 1954 team.

In addition to all that Bob was Peter Vann’s roommate in the 1953-1954 class year. The next year Bob was the First Captain of the Corps of Cadets.


Peter Vann ‘s Teammate – Ambassador Hoffman

Vince Lombardi‘s Son Comments on Peter Vann’s contribution to his Father’s success

Peter Vann ‘s contribution to our Nation continues