When cadets and midshipmen face off against one another at the 123rd Army-Navy game in Philadelphia on Dec. 10, the brothers-in-arms will again battle for victory in the friendly annual rivalry.
But for identical twins, Cadet Josh Lowe and Midshipman Jacob Lowe, the game holds an additional level of competition.
The brothers, from Mission Viejo, California, will cheer for their respective military academies at this year’s game from opposite sides of the stadium. While Josh, a member of a West Point skills competition team, and Jacob, a Navy track and field runner, were never far apart growing up, the class of 2023 siblings were soon able to forge their own identities at school.
“I think separating was best for our development as individuals,” Josh, the cadet, said last year in a release. “I think that first semester my plebe year was pretty hard being apart, but overall, going to separate academies has been best for our personal development.”
The brothers have also reportedly had some fun confusing people in their opposite uniforms.
“People would go, ‘Hi, and why are you wearing the Navy uniform,’ … I would have no idea who they were, and they would keep getting us mixed up,” Jacob, the midshipman, said in the release. “They’d see (Josh) and go ‘why did I see you in the Navy uniform,’ it has been a fun semester.”
Last year, Jacob participated in the ‘prisoner exchange’ that takes place on the field ahead of kickoff, where cadets and midshipmen who spent the semester at the opposite academy are ‘returned’ to their respective schools.
“At the end of the day, we may give each other a bit of flak … but we appreciate what the other is doing,” Jacob said in the release. “For one day, we are rivals, but at the end of the day, we are on the same team. Sometimes, for as much as I would like to say Navy is better, I appreciate what the Army does.”
The Lowe brothers, however, are not the only ones with strong family ties to the academies or the persisting rivalry of the Army-Navy game.
Beginning with Thomas Vinson, a class of 1914 Naval Academy grad who played football and baseball as a midshipman, four generations of the Vinson family have attended a military academy and maintained the healthy rivalry between the sister institutions. Doug Vinson, a class of 1989 West Point grad, likes to joke his grandfather Thomas “got it wrong” going to the sea service school while his descendants all went to West Point.
“We go every year,” said Doug, whose siblings all joined the Army as well, said of the Army-Navy game in an interview with Military Times.
His four children have also found their path with the Army, including his daughter CeCe Vinson, now a first-year cadet at West Point, who will march onto the field with the rest of her school for her first time this year.
“It’s such a family tradition, and the game itself embodies that, and they wanted to be a part of it,” Doug added.
“It doesn’t matter what side of the field you’re on, it doesn’t matter even if you went to an academy or have any association with the academy. Anyone that goes to the game can’t help but walk away thinking that’s just the greatest college football game that’s played.”
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media