It was “Wheels up!”—not “Anchors aweigh!”—as we headed to Annapolis, Maryland, last October for Navy’s homecoming game against Tulane. After a short ride from Baltimore to our rented house conveniently located a pitching wedge from both the alluring Annapolis Historic District and waterfront and the awe-inspiring U.S. Naval Academy, we headed to the epicenter—McGarvey’s Saloon.
My wife and I traveled with two New Orleans couples, all good friends. One husband was Rick Navarro, a 1974 Naval Academy graduate who flew a P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft on three different deployments to the Far East and had a lengthy career as a Delta Air Lines pilot. Nothing like having an insider tour guide.
Annapolis had long been high on my bucket list, and I always thought a Tulane-Navy rivalry would be terrific. I had first seen Navy play Tulane in New Orleans in 1956, when I was 12, and more recently have followed the Middies because of Rick. Both schools have storied football history, and with Navy coming into the American Athletic Conference in 2015, the timing was perfect. Not to mention that Navy comes to Yulman Stadium this fall and their athletic director is former Tulane AD Chet Gladchuk Jr.
On Friday night McGarvey’s was crowded and noisy. At one point, someone called my name, but the voice was not familiar. I searched the faces and was surprised to see a fellow Orleanian who had graduated from Tulane with me in 1966—Hank Corder.
Corder attended Tulane on a Navy ROTC scholarship and played golf for the Wave along with the likes of Wally Blessey, Ray Fontenot and Steve Bellaire, among others. A surface-warfare officer, he was stationed on two destroyers during his five years in the U.S. Navy. His ships were deployed overseas, including once to Vietnam.
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