FOXBORO, Mass. — It was a busy Wednesday for Army and Navy, who had representatives meet for a media event Wednesday at Gillette Stadium — taking in the pageantry that comes with their historic rivalry ahead of their meeting on Dec. 9.

The Black Knights had more pressing business to attend to later in the day, however.

More than 1,000 cadets will pile into Eisenhower Hall at The U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday, taking part in an annual tradition called “Branch Night” with their classmates. The Class of 2024, which will include a number of Black Knights, will tear open envelopes revealing the symbol of the branch they will serve as officers.

“I’d like to try to continue playing football, but if not we actually have Branch Night tonight,” Army captain Leo Lowin told on Wednesday. “I’m looking to get into the Infantry, so we’ll see what happens. We put in our preferences, but tonight we find out officially. It’s a big day. It’s a busy day.”

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It’s a tradition unlike any other, especially in college football, as the seniors at both Army and Navy are aware that their careers will likely end on Dec. 9 at Gillette Stadium.

“I’m definitely not getting drafted (into the NFL),” Army captain Jimmy Ciarlo said. “It’s an exciting day. (Lowin) and I are both hoping to get Infantry, so we have a pretty good chance of getting that. I’m excited to open that envelope.

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” … I’ve learned that there are a lot of parallels between football and an infantryman. You have a lot of teammates and comradery. You share hardships, so those are the things that drew me to it.”

Army was represented by head coach Jeff Monkin, superintendent Lt. General Steven W. Gilland, athletic director Mike Buddie, Ciarlo and Lowin at Gillette Stadium, and helped ease the stress of Wednesday’s packed schedule by transporting the group between Massachusetts and New York in a helicopter.

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“They made a pledge, and a commitment to serve… They’re outstanding young men and women.”

Army head coach Jeff Monken

It’s the kind of thing you won’t see anywhere else and a nice treat for those that have separated themselves from other collegiate athletes.

“I think any of the service academies would tell you that the young people that make a commitment to go to these institutions are some of the very best young men and women in our country,” Monken said. “I know every school has outstanding young men, and every team has outstanding young men that could go to an academy, but our guys chose to go to an academy. They made a pledge, and a commitment to serve. … They’re outstanding young men and women, and they’re going to take on a job that most people aren’t envious of.”

Featured image via Danny Wild/USA TODAY Sports Images