Marine Barracks Washington DC --
The Army Black Knights of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Navy Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy have battled 118 times on the gridiron, producing several memorable football games. The 1893 meeting is considered the first game where a player wore a football helmet; the 1944 and 1945 matchups featured Army and Navy ranked number 1 and number 2 respectively; and during the 1963 clash, instant replay was used on television for the first time.
However, one important game is rarely talked about. The 1903 meeting, which was the ninth time the teams matched up on the field, didn’t feature new equipment, highly ranked teams or new technology. In fact, the game was a blowout. Army beat Navy 40-5. No, it wasn’t the action on the field that made the 1903 meeting notable; it was what happened with the proceeds made from that game. Profits from that year’s football game were used to help fund and establish the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
On Jan. 23, 1904, just a couple months following the football game, the Society was incorporated, and during their first year they gave $9,500 to widows and families of enlisted service members. More than a century later, the Society continues to support Navy-Marine Corps service members, eligible family members and survivors with financial assistance and education.
“The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is a charitable organization established essentially to provide financial support and financial education to Marines and sailors and their dependents all over the world,” said Capt. Jason Roles, a logistics officer and NMCRS action officer at Marine Barracks Washington D.C. “If a Marine or sailor requires financial assistance they can fill out an application. That application is then reviewed by the members on the panel in their region. The panel determines how much money they will be able to provide in financial support and whether that financial support is going to go out in the source of a grant, which is not required to be paid back, or a loan, which would be required to be paid back.”
In 2016, the NMCRS provided more than $45 million in interest-free loans and grants to more than 56,000 Marines, sailors and their families.
“I think it’s a great charity all around for the Navy and the Marine Corps,” Roles said. “Here in the National Capitol Region they have a 97 percent approval rate for people requesting assistance. They really do, and I honestly believe they really try to find a way to help any Marine, no matter the circumstance.”
To learn more about the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and the services they provide, visit their website at www.nmcrs.org.