Support our mission
 

The way Allan Grinter has played the past three Army-Navy flag football games on Okinawa, they might as well name the traveling rivalry trophy after him.

Grinter threw six touchdown passes for the second straight year, giving him 15 over three games as Army won the Okinawa game for the fourth straight year. This time it was a 40-21 victory at Torii Station on Saturday.

“It’s not just about me,” Grinter said after Army beat Navy for the 14th time in the game’s 18-year history. “I get to represent the Army. I liken it to my days of playing high school ball. When I get the opportunity to play, I take it.”

Grinter, 29, a staff sergeant from Russellville, Ky., was the big star on a day of pomp and pageantry, spanning Yongsan Garrison in South Korea to Camp Zama in Japan to Naval Base Guam.

Army won three of the four Pacific games, also winning 14-8 at Yongsan and 13-7 at Camp Zama. Navy’s lone victory was a 28-0 win over the Army National Guard at Guam’s Blue Jacket Field.

“This is always a fun event,” U.S. Army Japan Command Sgt. Maj. William Franklin said. “We fight hard together, but this is just a game. Both of us have folks downrange in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’re all one force.”

Franklin and Naval Forces Japan Master Chief Petty Officer Marion Rush presided over the Japan game, attended by about 30 fans. Elements of the 7th Fleet and 296th Army Band added to the festivities at Zama American High School Trojans Field.

About 150 fans ringed Seoul American High School’s carpeted field for the 12th Peninsula Trophy clash. Navy and Army cheerleaders added to the pageantry with halftime performances.

For one Army officer who grew up a Navy dependent, it made little difference who won.

“It’s fun. It’s the sense of community,” said Maj. Felicia Jones of Yongsan’s 121st Combat Support Hospital. “I’m a Navy brat, so it could be OK if they won.”

Naval Forces Korea commander Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden and 8th U.S. Army commander Lt. Gen. David Valcourt presided over the Yongsan game.

At Blue Jacket Field, station commanding officer Capt. Scott Galbraith along with senior Guam Army National Guard officials joined about 150 spectators under gorgeous conditions, said Lt. Donnell Evans, Naval Forces Marianas spokesman.

Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation spiced up the event with prize giveaways, including two tickets to the NFL’s Pro Bowl next month in Honolulu.

The biggest crowd could be found at Torii, where about 1,200 spectators attended.

Torii’s commanding officer Col. Kenneth Lundgren and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Donaldson presided, along with Naval Forces Okinawa commanding officer Capt. Mike Vizcarra, Master Chief Petty Officer Terry Woodcock and Naval Hospital Camp Lester commander Capt. Brian Dawson.

The game is emblematic of “camaraderie and military teamwork, especially when we’re closer than where we’d be in the States,” Vizcarra said.

“It’s a great way to start the holiday season,” Lundgren said.

Santa Claus presented the game ball to the officials. Members of the 296th Army Band from Zama traveled to Okinawa to perform. A combined color guard of Army and Navy members posted the colors.

At halftime, members of the NBA’s Orlando Magic dance team performed. The group is on a tour of American bases on Okinawa.

“Everyone is fighting for our country, and sometimes back home, we take that for granted,” said dancer Deana Clover, whose nephew, Andrew, 20, is a soldier deployed to Iraq. “It’s nice to come here and say thank you for all they do.”

On the fields at Zama and Yongsan, Navy tried to rally late but came up short.

The sailors turned the ball over on downs, then were trapped in the end zone for a safety to cap the scoring at Yongsan. Army has won 10 of the 12 Peninsula Trophy games contested.

At Zama, Navy got the ball back with less than two minutes left and no timeouts, but could only get as far as the Army 10-yard line. Darius Merritt caught two second-half touchdown passes as Army rallied from a 7-0 halftime deficit to beat Navy 13-7. That evened the series 3-3.

Navy holds a 2-0 edge in the Guam series.

Stars and Stripes reporters Jimmy Norris and Vince Little contributed to this report.

Dave Ornauer / S&S Members of the NBA's Orlando Magic dance team perform at halftime of Saturday's 18th Okinawa Army-Navy game at Torii Station, Okinawa.Dave Ornauer / S&S Army receiver Domonique Thomas's (8) flag gets pulled by Navy defender Author Davison (14) during Saturday's 18th Okinawa Army-Navy game at Torii Station. Dave Ornauer / S&S Santa Claus and one of his elves present the game ball to Uzell Stokes of the Okinawa Athletic Officials Association before Saturday's 18th Okinawa Army-Navy game at Torii Station, Okinawa.Dave Ornauer / S&S Army running back Reynaldo Maldonado (5) has his flag pulled by Navy defender Ty Newton during Saturday's Okinawa Army-Navy game at Torii Station. Dave Ornauer / S&S One sign says it all, displayed on the side of the Torii gymnasium during Saturday's 18th Okinawa Army-Navy game at Torii Station,Dave Ornauer / S&S Army quarterback Allan Grinter (6) avoids the rush of Navy defender John J. Adametz (46) during Saturday's game at Torii Station, Okinawa. Grinter threw six touchdown passes for the second straight year as Army beat Navy for the fourth straight time.Dave Ornauer / S&S Navy team members make their way onto the field prior to Saturday's 18th Okinawa Army-Navy game at Torii Station, Okinawa. Army beat Navy for the fourth straight time 40-21.Todd Macdonald / U.S. NavySgt. First Class Sean Martinez runs the ball upfield Saturday at the annual Army-Navy flag football game at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea. Army beat Navy 14-8 in the game on the field at Seoul American High School.Todd Macdonald / U.S. NavyEighth U.S. Army commander Lt. Gen. David Valcourt got had a spirited message on his cap for anyone standing behind him Saturday at Yongsan Garrison during the annual Army-Navy flag football game.Todd Macdonald / U.S. NavyNavy and Army flag football players square off for the coin toss at Saturday's annual game at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea. Army won the game 14-8.Jimmy Norris / S&S jnYoung Navy fans show their spirit by circling the Seoul American High School football field with a Navy banner Saturday at Yongsan Garrison during the annual Army-Navy flag football game.Jimmy Norris / S&S jnMembers of the Army’s flag football team do a victory dance after beating the Navy team 14-8 Saturday at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea.

Navy Quarterback Lavoris Harris shakes off Army defender Garett Valcourt and tosses the ball on Saturday at Camp Zama. Elements of the 7th Fleet and 296th Army Band from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, play during the Army-Navy flag football game on Saturday at Camp Zama.Christopher Stoltz / S&S Yokosuka Naval Base's Lavoris Harris runs the ball for a last attempt at a goal during the final seconds of the game and downed just short of the goal by Army's David Gomez at an Army-Navy flag football game Saturday at Camp Zama, Japan.

Migrated
author headshot
Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He served 10½ years in the Air Force, the last 4½ assigned to Stripes in Tokyo, and was then hired by Stripes on Oct. 25, 1985. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages Pacific Storm Tracker.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up