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Clinton Awards Commander in Chief Trophy to Air Force Academy

May 10, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton presented the Commander in Chief Trophy to the Air Force Academy on Friday, the seventh year in a row the school’s football team has been honored as the best among the service academies.

``If you ever needed proof that we had a joint planning and operation and we’re really building a joint culture in the military, we’re going to give it today with General Shali congratulating the Air Force for another victory over the Army,″ Clinton said.

Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Lt. Gen. Paul Stein, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, joined the president at the White House to congratulate the team.

Clinton said he was especially impressed by how the Falcons rallied to defeat Army last season.

``I’ve learned a little something about what it takes to overcome large deficits,″ Clinton told a gathering of seniors from the team. ``And I was mightily impressed.″

The prize, a huge trophy decorated with three life-sized metal footballs, is awarded by the president to the must successful of the major military service academies.

``You have the biggest, most beautiful trophy in all of sports,″ coach Fisher Deberry told Clinton. ``And I can tell you, it makes the Super Bowl trophy look like a miniature.″

Clinton put on a football jersey, given to him by team captain Leron Hudgins. He then shook hands with the team’s graduating seniors, who will receive their commissions as second lieutenants in the Air Force in 19 days.