USS INTREPID, HUDSON RIVER, NEW YORK – Cadet Charles Reeves is under the same scrutiny as every future Army officer at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, except he’s got an extra set of eyes on him.

That’s because his father, Brig. Gen. Shane Reeves, is the dean of the academic board and himself a graduate of the institution.

So, when today’s 122nd Army Navy Game kicks off, it’ll be just one episode of a family tradition that links not only father and son but generations dating back to 1890, Reeves told Army Times.

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That year was when the senior Reeves’ great-grandfather graduated from West Point. Oh, and he has two great uncles who graduated in the 1920s, another in 1937, his grandfather in 1939, and he, his brother and sister-in-law in 1996.

Charles grew up, as did his father, watching the game in person and on TV. He shared in the ups and downs of a team he’d one day call his own.

When asked if he ever considered going Navy, Charles took a diplomatic turn.

“I respect all of the academies, however, if I had gone to the Naval Academy I feel like my family would probably have disowned me,” Charles said. “I had only one option, West Point or bust.”

The one-star jokes that the Army 14-year losing streak started the year his son was born. But junior quipped back that another streak ended when he attended a game without his dad.

So good luck or bad luck? Time will tell.

Charles remembers a windy and cold game, Army was down, the clock was ticking, but they were headed to the end zone when a player fumbled the ball, sending Navy to another victory.

“An older gentlemen sitting near us turned and said, ‘I just want to see a win before I go,’” Charles said.

His father verified that did indeed happen.

Set to graduate in 2024, Charles is in his second year at the academy and already played a role in one of the pre-game traditions, a civil engineering major, he helped build the wooden boat that is burned in a bonfire on campus surrounded by cadets.

But of course, Navy used its double agents to sabotage, as best they could, the event.

“It was funny, while we were practicing for the march on for the game, we came back and found our bot had been spray-painted by Navy cadets,” Charles said.

Each of the schools sent a small cohort of their own students to the other service academies for an “exchange semester.” Those cadets will be ceremoniously returned in a “prisoner exchange” at today’s halftime.

“We couldn’t stand for it,” Charles said. So, he and his classmates got up early and painted over the playful vandalism so that their Army-made boat could be burned clean on the Wednesday bonfire before the game.

So far Charles hasn’t participated in any of the ongoing Army Navy Game pranks that historically happen in the weeks before the game. Or at least he didn’t divulge that information to Army Times.

His father would only say that his pranks while a cadet were “very small and local, that’s what I’ll say.”

Basically, they’re classified.

Note: Travel accommodations for Army Navy Game coverage by Military Times were provided by USAA, a military-focused insurance company.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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