Army senior defensive back Brandon Whittington from El Paso, Texas has been named First Captain for the 2012-2013 school year, the highest leadership position at the US Military Academy. This according to an announcement released by West Point on Friday afternoon.
The First Captain is the senior cadet who leads the entire Corps of Cadets in parades, presides over administration of the Corps and is asked to host the many VIPs who visit the Academy. At the Army-Navy game when the entire Corps marches out on to the field in company formations, the First Captain leads the 4,000 Cadets onto the field and yells out the commands.
Commenting in the announcement was head football coach Rich Ellerson:
"Brandon knows what the group needs to hear and see, and he steps forward. Most guys could figure it out if you gave them an hour, but he can do it in the blink of an eye. That has always set him apart. He’s a good player."
The First Captain position, also known as the Brigade Commander, holds traditions at West Point. Alumni who have held the position include John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and Pete Dawkins.
The last Army football player to serve in this capacity was Hans Pung during the 1994-1995 season. In the long history of West Point football, Cadet Whittington is the 26th Black Knight to hold this position.
In the release, Whittington said:
"Our main goal is to become Army officers. Yes, we are Army football players, and we are Army football players, and we are committed to everything that it means to be an Army football player, but there is a bigger purpose for all of us."
Another Army football player—senior punter Chris Boldt from St. Louis, MO—was named the First Regimental Commander, another of the top positions in the Corps of Cadets. West Point has four regiments of approximately 1,100 cadets. Football long-snapper Carson Homme was Commander of the Third Regiment during the 2010-2011 year.
Whittingham has been primarily a special teams contributor for the Black Knights playing in 11 of the 12 games in 2011 as a junior. Boldt punted 31 times for Army in 2011 averaging 39.8 yards.
These two appointments show that that the football team is gaining standing on the West Point campus and reflects well on the program rebuilding that Coach Ellerson and his staff have been conducting—now going into their fourth season.
Ken Kraetzer covers Army football for WVOX in New Rochelle, NY and for Sons of the American Legion Radio.