BHAFB First Bowl to host All Three Service Academies

With the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen football team heading to Fort Worth, Texas in December, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has become the only collegiate football bowl game in history to have all three United States Service Academies play in its annual game that honors America’s Armed Forces.

Surviving stormy seas with fierce resolve and determination, the doggedly disciplined U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen football team won their sixth game last weekend to become eligible to compete in the 11th annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth. The Mids earned their 10th trip to a bowl game in the last 11 years last Saturday with their 42-14 senior day victory in Annapolis over South Alabama.

Navy has agreed to meet a representative from the Mountain West Conference in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to be played on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. (CT) in Amon G. Carter Stadium on the campus of TCU. The game will air on ESPN, ESPN Radio and will be carried worldwide on the Armed Forces Network.

“As a community and as a bowl game we have been privileged and honored to recognize our nation’s military with a bowl game centered around the sacrifices they make daily to preserve our freedom,” said Brant Ringler, Executive Director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “To be able have one of our service academies from the Air Force, Army and now Navy represented as a participating team adds yet another exciting element to what we do to recognize the patriotic dedication and commitment of our armed forces.”

Owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN Regional Television, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the service are prevalent throughout the game.

Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance; and the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

Tickets to the game are now available via the bowl’s website,

Texas is home to nearly 200,000 active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel spread throughout the Lone Star state at one of more than 25 military installations and thousands have been able to enjoy the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl as guests of philanthropic companies. Texas also has over 55,000 Department of Defense civilian employees.

Founded as the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl in 2003, the game remained the Fort Worth Bowl until 2006 when it was re-introduced as the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. This year’s game will mark the sixth time in the last seven years that a Service Academy has been featured in the bowl. The United States Air Force Academy has appeared in the game four times (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012), the United States Military Academy has played once (2010) and now Navy will complete the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl tri-fecta in 2013.

Both Air Force and Army have hoisted the iconic trophy made of actual battle tested metal materials which are melted together to honor the sacrifices of all armed forces members. Air Force (1-3) hoisted the trophy in 2009 with a 47-20 win over Houston while Army (1-0) defeated SMU 16-14 in 2010.

Overall, the three Service Academies have appeared in 29 total bowl games over the years and while six bowl games have hosted two academies, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl is the first to host all three U.S. Service Academies.

Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo is in his sixth season at the helm of the Midshipmen and 16th overall with Navy football. During his first five-plus years as head coach at Navy, Niumatalolo’s Mids have compiled a record of 46-30 (.605) and he has moved into third all-time in Navy career wins. This will be the fifth time in his six seasons at Navy that the Midshipmen have gone to a bowl game.

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A major stepping stone this year on the road to Fort Worth, the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, is presented annually to the winner of the football competition among the three major service academies – Army, Navy and Air Force – and is named in honor of the President of the United States. Navy has dominated of late, winning the trophy a Service Academy record seven consecutive years from 2003-2009 and winning a Service Academy record 15 straight games against Air Force and Army in the process. Air Force lost to both Army (41-21) and Navy (28-21 OT) last year to surrender the trophy after holding it for two years (2010, 2011). Navy has won the trophy a total of 13 times since the award was started in 1972 plus three retentions for a total of 16 times.

Air Force defeated Army in Colorado Springs, Col 42-28; and the regular season will end in Philadelphia on Dec. 14 when Army plays Navy. Navy has been the most dominant service academy in the last decade plus, winning 20 of 22 (.909) meetings with Air Force and Army, including this year’s 28-10 win over Air Force.

This will mark the third time in its 11-year history that the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be held on December 30, as the 2010 and 2011 contests were both held on that date. The most recent Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl was played Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 featuring a match-up between the Rice Owls and U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons, in which the Owls claimed the bowl victory 33-14. Last year’s showcase drew an attendance of 40,754.

Tickets for the 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl are now on sale through

For additional information about the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, please visit, or