Operation Black September: The 1977 Army Football Team - Mike Belter

Operation Black September: The 1977 Army Football Team

By Mike Belter

  • Release Date: 2017-12-31
  • Genre: Football


The 1977 Army Football Team was the most successful team at West Point during the 1970s. The team won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy by beating both Navy and Air Force and was offered a bowl bid. Players were united by their two Co-Captains (Chuck D'Amico and Leamon Hall), and this led to the only winning Army Football team between the 1972-1984 seasons.

Key to the season was Operation Black September, when on a dark night in September before the 1977 season began, the starters gathered in the middle of the field at Michie Stadium, pledged to do their best for the team and each other, and each cut their right thumbs and placed their bloody fingerprint on a football (they called the Blood Ball). Prior to every game, the Blood Brothers would induct new members, wear a band-aid on their right thumbs over the scar, run out onto the field, and then touch thumbs to remind each of the oath they each swore on that Black September night. No one else knew about this, no coach, trainer, instructor, other Cadets, or support staff, until the end of the season.

Follow these Army Cadets through a tough season playing the eventual national champion and the previous season's national champion, plus nine other opponents, including academy rivals Air Force and Navy, to a winning record of 7-4-0, the best season since 1968 and something Army would not repeat until 1984.