In this episode, your host Grant Vermeer speaks with United States Navy Officer Rebecca Richmond '16 about what it is like as a midshipman in the 13th Company tradition of running the game ball to the stadium.
Rebecca who is a 2016 graduate of the Naval Academy, joins the podcast while serving as a Navy pilot out of Virginia Beach flying the E2-C. She was in the 13th Company and a systems engineering major with an focus in robotics. She was a member of the women's varsity basketball team and is from Boulder, Colorado.
Rebecca takes us through all that goes into 13th Company planning and executing this important mission.
You get the "insider" information about the ball run from Rebecca who participated in the run as a member of the 13th Company.
Go Navy!! Beat Army!!
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This is your host Grant Vermeer Naval Academy class of 2017 and I'm your academy insider. It's my goal to be your guide through the Naval Academy experience. By sharing my stories and providing you inside information into the life of a shipment. Academy insider is in no way officially affiliated with the United States Naval Academy. All of the content on Academy Insider is my own. It does not reflect the views of the United States Naval Academy, the United States Navy nor the Department of Defense. Everyone and welcome to the academy and set a podcast today. I'm joined by Rebecca Richmond, who is a class of 16 graduate from the Naval Academy, and during her time in Annapolis, she was a part of the 13th company, which allowed her to participate in the ball run for the Army Navy game. So if you're wondering who the Midshipmen are that present the game ball to the referees at the Army Navy game, then check out. This episode is Rebecca provides a ton of background insight and share some stories about her time participating in the ball run. You guys will really enjoy this episode, so check it out. All right. Hey, Rebecca. Thank you so much for taking the time to come talk to the academy. Insider audience, Stay. We really appreciate it.
Yeah, no problem. Thank you so much for having me.
Of course, before we get started, if you don't mind just talking a little bit about your background. So where you from? How you ended up at the Naval Academy. Ah, and then a little bit about yourself as a midshipman, company major. And things that you did. No
problem. So I am from Boulder, Colorado. Um, I grew up. They're pretty much spent my entire childhood there. I got to go play fastball at the Naval Academy, so I went there for on a basketball kind of scholarship. I mean, if you can't understand the deal, it's not really a scholarship. Everyone goes for free, but yeah, I signed my letter intent there. I don't really have any military, my family or anything, but my dad was definitely a big proponent of supporter of me going to the academy. And so Yeah, I checked it out. Ah, fell in love with it. Really? God, I went, um, and we could talk more about that later, but yeah, So I am Wasn't 13th company. I studied systems engineering with a focus in robotics. And, um, let's see, major company. And I'm a class of 16. 15. Awesome. Yeah.
Um, and then what are you doing now in the navy? So graduated class 16 out in the fleet for a little bit. Uh, what community you're in and what are you doing?
Yes. So I selected pilot out of the academy, so I went thio a p I. And then primaries are first kind of stages of flight school. After primary, I selected you to see two, which is E two Hawkeye or C two Greyhound. Um, And through that, we have a like, two others. Two more steps in our training pipeline. Um, each each step, you're flying a new plane. You're learning a new plane. Um, so I just right now on station in Virginia Beach, Um, at the Norfolk based there. And I'm at the fr s, which is a fleet replacement squadron. It's a squadron that we go to right before we hit the fleet. Um, in that's V w 1 20 So I will be flying the e to see that You too, Charlie. Um, and I'm excited about it. I should hopefully hit the fleet. My Eli's first Fleet squadron in June.
That's awesome. Well, look, with all that super fun flying planes pretty crazy, like, did you ever think when you were even, I mean, in high school getting recruited that you'd ever be a pilot at some point in your life,
man? Uh, no, not at all. Really? I had no idea. Um, I'm so glad I'm doing what I'm doing now. The people are amazing. Um, it is really great to be able to do something, like with your hands. And your minds have to think on your feet. Um, and it reminds me a lot of, you know, playing sports. So, like, hand eye coordination stuff. So that's been a really cool transition. Um, yeah. I never would have thought that I would be pilot, but your aunt today and yeah,
absolutely. And again. So for everyone out there, the focus of this episode is gonna be about, um, the Army Navy ball run. But as a relation to that, we're going to talk about Army Week a little bit too so firm with context. We're recording this during Army Week, and it didn't take very long for Army weak this year to get locked up, which for anyone who knows about Army Week, that's unfortunate, cause all the pranks in the shenanigans you get. Quells who once it's been, ah, little bit. But Rebecca, I just want to ask you a little bit is right now because it is normally. Do you have any memorable stories from your time during Army Week? Did you ever participate in any of the pranks or crazy things going on? And what do you remember about your Army weeks?
Yes, definitely. So whenever I think about Army Week, the first thing I think about is my experience freshman year. Um, one of the craziest pranks I guess I've ever seen, which happened to our company. Um, we woke up one morning. I think it was honestly the first Monday, that of Kickoff of Army Week, with a dead rotten stingray, literally a stingray that they like must have washed up on hospital point on our seem odd desk. So, like the third people, I don't know the desk that we all kind of stand watch at it was so disgusting. And of course, the freshman had to clean it all up. I don't even remember what company ended up doing it to us. But our entire floor was covered in chocolate sauce and the sting ray juice. And I mean, it was the most disgusting thing. So that is definitely one big thing I remember from Army week. Um, some other crazy stories that have, um so I am lived in seventh wing of being from 13th companies. So we call it the Jungle out there as a little basically, just like a throwing a little bit secluded out there. Um and, uh, like, you know, and some people may know we have kind of like a horseshoe of of rooms. So everybody looks out into the basketball courts below, and one day, I don't know who started it, but people started throwing, and I'm pretty sure they banned it after this year. They're throwing printers, mattresses does. I mean, you name it out the window, which I was absurd. I think that was actually my freshman year too, And it probably calmed down after that.
Yeah, it seems to have definitely calm down just a little bit just because of how crazy some things have gotten. Um,
yeah, because I I would agree.
Yeah, Your your head The sting, Ray. Our year. I want to say for some odd reason, two people have brought in, like, dead animals just all around. Just Bancroft. You're just like, Oh, this is this is really discussing, like, saying the pleas of the ones that are like, Oh, yeah. Hey, Pleads, you're gonna have to clean all that up and take the rest of the dumpsters, and you're like, Yeah, that's not That's not great. Not ideal. Uh, but with that being said also, two out of four years, you've got to participate in the Army Navy ball run. So for anyone who may have absolutely no idea what that is, do you mind just taking a little bit of time to explain what the Army Navy ball run
is? Yeah, of course. So, um, every company kind of has their thing throughout the class. Fear and 13 companies. Big contribution to the battalion is this ball run. So, um, it starts the planning. It's a huge out evolution, as you can imagine. So, um, we have Bill. It's in our company. So seniors and below. We have an entire kind of little group that focuses on the ball run since the first day of the school year with planning. So, really, what happens when it comes down to is 13th company as a whole runs the game ball from, um, our bank off court all the way to the stadium at which the Navy Army Navy ball run our Army. Sorry Army Navy football game takes place. So whether it's still Lincoln Financial Field or the MetLife Stadium, uh, we run it all the way out there. So it's pretty self explanatory, but it is a huge evolution.
But I mean, that's like, That's like a long distance. I mean, from the majority. The games, like even this year, like it's in Philadelphia. That's 150 miles away. Like how do they play in out one. How many people are going to run in this? So you mentioned that this is a part of 13th company, so I guess a couple questions. The first questions that I have for you are If you are in 13th company, are you required to do it or is it kind of a voluntary thing. And then with that, how do they pick how long each leg of this run's gonna be and who's gonna be running in What leg?
Yeah. So, um, like I said, the ballroom coordinator is like the primary point of contact for everything. He's usually first here. She's usually the first eat. Um, every year we have, like, a binder that's been passed down s so we have a really good layout of every route that we usually take. So each leg eso, like you said, it's about 150 ish miles Thio the Lincoln Financial Field in like, Oh, just over 200 to the MetLife Stadium. So, um, each leg is probably anywhere between eight miles and 15 miles, and usually and then, obviously, however many legs that would you no wait to is how much we would run it. Thio, Um, and the so everybody in the company does participate because it is such a big evolution. We do need accountability for everybody. Um and so how it kind of works is that a few weeks prior to the ball run, um, we have sign up sheets. So for each leg is mapped out. So let's say the first leg usually kicks off around lunchtime or just after lunchtime on that Friday and then pretty much goes all the way through the night until Saturday morning of game day. So foresees, just like many traditions of the economy of first use has had the best pick s. Oh, uh, that that day or that week, they'll say, All right, all first ease congee. Oh, and sign up for your leg. S o U usually kind of go up with your best friends and kind of sign up for each leg where you want to run. Usually it's not in the middle of the night, and then the sleeves kind of get the the middle of the night. Um, early morning, Sifs. So, yes. So it starts at Bancroft Court, and that's like a big kickoff. It's There's a bunch of news as you know, all the minutes come out and here it's off on, and that's actually pretty much the best leg you can get. You end up running with the soup. Even the confidante usually comes out. Um and then, yeah, from then on, every so you don't have to run the entire time. I guess that's another good clarification have so you have bomb must be run at all times, but you don't have to necessarily around at all times. So, like a lot all of the times, what happens is you know we'll have a group of people, and then we always have Ah, van and at least away. So it's really safe then, um, and usually most people right miles or however many they can. And then they can go sit in the van hard chargers and everyone and it's what? It's fun. Well, Booth and boots and utes, and we, um, all the way out there. So yeah,
So you said that the term boots and utes do you mind? Just explains a little bit. What? What boots and utes means.
Yes, yes. Oh, um, when we wear our Commies, um, and usually just like T shirt or a long sleeve. Or in our case, we'll wear our ball run T shirts, which is, like, just kind of like an acceptable kind of, I guess, casual PT uniform. Um, that integrates your boots and your, ah, like camouflage pants.
Yeah, and that in those ball run T shirts is that part of the planning and the coordination to Does the company get a vote of what designed the T shirt's gonna be yours. That just kind of picked out toe one person like a You're the T shirt guy or gal and, like, make a school T shirts,
right? Yes. So, actually, um, I mean, as you know, there's just so many creative people at the academy and usually don't have any issues. We usually just kind of put out like, hey, who is interested or has a good idea for the ball run shirts this year, and we usually get a few different designs. Um, I know we had a couple really good artists in my class, so they kind of collaborated. Um, and what kind of come up with designs and then these shirts? Actually, we we help kind of raise money for the company also selling the shirts. So not only do we all get everybody in the company get a T shirt or a long sleeve, depending on the weather and everything, but we can sell them to our family members, and we get sweatshirts, usually for the first class, So yeah, just kind of depends every years. Usually a little different. Everything. Every year they usually incorporate a little bit of luck of the Irish 13th company. Kind of spaying and then, uh, just seen a vault run themes.
Yeah. And do you have any idea how long this has been a tradition for 13th company?
Yeah. So, um, I actually look this one off 1982 was the first ball run. Yeah. So I guess the tradition was that it originally started Thio kind of build spirit and morale and get rid of this unlucky 13 or of the 13 companies tohave. So, um, yeah. Now it Now, it's just definitely part of our tradition that will probably hopefully never ends.
Absolutely. I think it's a super supercool event. And like you were saying that first leg, you gotta take off. There's news coverage. You're running with the superintendent in the common on. It's kind of just a really cool, exciting event. Um, but after multiple hours of running through the night, the ball finally gets to the stadium. Do you have any idea then what happens like, does the ball get delivered to someone that you say it's the game ball. So, like, what's that process before the game actually starts to deliver the game ball?
Yeah, for sure, I'm so this is off also another really awesome part of being a senior or first see in 13th company. Every first, Stevie, um, gets to tailgate before the early was for us. I'm not sure if it's a long way, would get to tailgate a little bit before the game and then run the ball into the stadium and then run, Go run the ball onto the field and present that game ball on the field. So obviously, logistically, we try and get the ball there as like early as as logistically possible with the legs on Saturday morning, Um, and then as a whole entire class, we get to go out on the field, which is really cool. I mean, not many people get to go on the NFL field and definitely, definitely, really like good class bonding experience to be able to run out and present the game ball and usually the ball run coordinator then helps pretty much plan the entire event gets to hand it off to the referee.
Okay, Yeah. So hitting after the referee so that that actually happens close to game time. Then we're
like Okay. Yeah. So Martin usually happens first. Eso all the mids air up in an LDA. Cadets are up in the stadium. So that is the last thing, Um, prior to kickoff. That's really
cool. Yeah, Yeah, the today. That's Ah, super cool event, Um, in from your two years that you got to do it. And the other two, unfortunately, you're saying, played basketball at the academy for for four years as well. That was That was tough. So you only got to do it two out of four years. But what are some of your best memories from getting to participate in this ballroom? Is there anything that specifically sticks out from you? Do you have any great stories from the years that you've gotta participate in this event?
Yeah, definitely. Let's be my friend. I wasn't able to do it, but my sophomore year, I got a c l reconstruction surgery, like, a month or two prior. So I wasn't able to run, but I was able to be go throughout the entire process and ride in the van. Um, so that was really fun. actually excite was like D Day in the car. You No way. We would all get ready and go out together. I remember. Is the middle of the night run. Um, and it was really fun, because so midway. So the Friday night, Um, there's always usually, like, a, um kind of like a place that we all meet up. And we all sleep at eso first. Please don't have to say there, but all the other classes D'oh! Um and so it's kind of like a huge slumber party with your company. So that was like, a really great experience. We all would like, watch scary movies all night and we had a bunch of food. We would cook like crock pot meals. Um, and that was that was like one of my fondest memories of the ball run besides first year. So, actually, my junior year, I was actually able to participate as well. I sent you guys. A couple sent you a couple photos of, um, at the, um the monuments. We got two D'oh. A monument run in D. C. Um, and that was really cool because we did it pretty much. Almost everybody was able to go. So we kind of stopped the ball run for a little bit and did kind of like a big monument run all together, Um, which was really great because it allowed us still kind of reconvene together before the ball kept moving on. Um, and then senior year, um, I was actually I didn't play best my senior year for color, but it was great because I was able to participate in all these company events. Um, and we I was Ellen that first leg, so we ran the entire way. Um, big fat out to Captain Rivera. You got that? He ran the entire thing with us. It was really great. Um, so we pass it off. Um, And then that morning, like I said, just being able to tailgate and like, hang out. We got to Where are you know, our sweatshirts and are our boots and use Like I said before to the game and go out on the field. Just some really, like fallen memories with company made set. You know, it's just unique experiences like that at the academy that you have with other people that you really won't forget.
Yeah, absolutely. And Now, the question that everyone wants to know is, since you guys were in boots and utes for the actual delivery of the game ball, do you then have to go and change and, like, enter the stands? Are you gonna hang out and stay warm? Like, what's the what's the deal
s O That is another perp, major? Yeah. Yeah, literally. Probably one of the best ones that don't have to change back into uniform. Unfortunately, everybody else, Haas. D'oh! Ah, where their uniforms. But, um yeah, that that is definitely big perk.
Absolutely. And so with that, do you get to stay on the field for the game? Or do you, like, go back to the stands? But you gotta maintain wearing your boots in the youth since
yeah, we got we go back to this stands. Unfortunately, that would be really cool. But now we go back to the stands and join the rest of our class and so
sweet. Well, thank you so much for explaining all that. Do you have anything else that you would want to mention about this or have anything additional before we jump into what I call the Lightning round of questions here for all former magician.
Yeah. I mean, I just hope all the 13 years out there are really enjoying it. Um And, honestly, all these kind of events, if you have a big event in your company that you can participate in, definitely do it. It's always worthwhile Thio to share those memories with people. Um, and that God may be beat. Army
beat army way go. Um All right, so now I'm just gonna jump into some questions that I asked basically all former midshipman when they come on to the podcast, the first of which is we all know that Naval Academy is a really beautiful campus. But what is your favorite place like, What is your favorite spot on the yard?
Yeah, definitely. So being on seventh wing were right next to a fair Get fields. Just the seawall by fair, get field being humble. Look out and see all the sailboats. Um, definitely my favorite spot.
Yeah, definitely. Um, next one is what's your favorite meal in King Hall? What was your go to?
Yeah, I had to think about this. I mean, everyone will probably say buff chicks. That's obviously right. Pretty yeah, I really like. They're like lasagna and positive. It is. Yeah, it was always going to
I'm with you. That always, always, it is indeed hard on that set. Um, all right, now, kind of moving on to a little bit of a deeper question here. But what Or who can you trace back to? So something that, like, a leadership lesson or part of your leadership style that you hold today, What can you trace back to your time at the Naval Academy? Like who or what had the biggest influence on who you are as a leader out in the fleet today?
Yeah, I would definitely say, um, my opportunity to be a battalion operations officer. Um really helps, like, bring to light a lot of peer leadership. Um, and a lot of just like working logistics with, you know, higher ranking officers, um, and then working for and providing for a large group of people s. So I think that Bill and really every billet leadership billet I held, um, was really helpful and just kind of defining and learning little bits of how you can be a better leader and what works and what doesn't work So that's kind of about the what I say as faras the who. Um, I would say we had a really awesome first e class when I was a sophomore in my basketball team. Um, all those girls were really influential, and they actually was pretty much reason Why put Pilot first for? Because a few of them went pilot, Um, and I've been we've been able to keep in contact with some of them since. And, um, yeah, definitely. Their leaderships out on and off the basketball court was definitely really influential for me.
That special? Absolutely. That's what I think. That's one of the great things about the academy is you're either part of a team or like the company aspect, or some kind of club that you always have. That upperclassman mentorship is well, so it's really cool to hear that they had such a positive influence on you. All right. Next question is what is your favorite memory from your four years at the Naval Academy? Like what's the best memory you have?
Yeah, well, besides all the ball runs, um, I would say, probably winning the Patriot League Championship. That was pretty epic. Um, just such a great experience to be a part of and cutting down the net. You don't always get to do that. And, you know, in high school, I never had a championship, so that was just, like, really awesome feeling to be ableto to be a part of the team that that did That was, um, for sure. Exciting.
Absolutely. And where do you guys Where do you get a go for your first round of the N. C. A. A tournament game where you play for
that? We played in New York, but we played Kentucky. Believe that's pretty. Yeah, we lost way. Still really fun Experience happened.
Really? Um, okay. And now the final question to wrap it all up is that ah, lot of our audience is well, in addition to being parents and loved ones of current a gym and are a lot of, um, high school or prospective students that may be interested in 10 in the academy. So the final question is, what advice would you have for someone who may be interested in the academy about trying to decide whether or not the Naval Academy is a good college choice for them?
Yeah, um I am a huge proponent of going to be cutting me. Um, I really think if you're thinking about it, then you're probably on the right. Step two going, Um, I think if you have the desire to really excel and push yourself and have a job after graduation and toast student loans, um, really be a part of a brotherhood or fraternity. Your sisterhood? Um, I I would never take it back. Going to the academy and you know, is as bad as people say. You know what it is or what you may miss out on. You really do gain a whole nother perspective on how to be a leader on life, on friendships and relationships and what that means. So if you're thinking about it, um, And if you're if you wanna work hard, you're willing to work hard and you want to have, like, a great future and working with, you know, the finest navy in the world. I would say Do it, man. Um, if you have any questions, I know the academy insider. What you're doing is so awesome to provide information toe take kids because I know it was definitely tougher for athletes just kind of don't really know too much about it. And, um, even parents and stuff too. I know my parents were always like, Oh, what's going on? And it's nice to have a venue that you can. You gonna The kids don't have to tell you everything, So So if you're thinking about it, definitely do it. If you're your parents and you're on the kind of the line or whether or not to support your kid going there, um, I would just say, you know, your kid is gonna do some amazing things one day if you give them the opportunity to come to the academy. Um, and I hope that everyone is a supportive is, uh, my parents were
absolutely Well, thank you so much, Rebecca. We really appreciate you taking the time to come on and share some of your stories and give us some background insight into the ball run for the Army Navy game. So thank you so much.
Yeah, no problem. Hopefully was helpful.
Absolutely. Uh, to the academy. It's our audience that you guys so much and I hope you have a good day. Thank you all so much for listening to the podcast. Please leave me a review on a podcast and be sure to subscribe to the academy Insider podcast. If you want to learn more about the Naval Academy in the life of midshipmen, make sure to follow me on my Web page. Www dot academy insider dot com and my Facebook Page Academy insider. We're all continually post articles, videos and other pieces of content with an inside perspective into the life of a regiment. I'm grant for Mayor, the academy insider and thank you so much for letting me be your guide to the Naval Academy.