COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) – Coming together to attend Ohio State football games has become a tradition for West Point graduates Major Stephen Hueckel and Major-Retired Eric Baker. So, when they learned Army would be facing Ohio State for the first time, they immediately began to plan to travel back to their hometown to attend the game.
“It means the world because we were able to get together with the people with love, and be here to support the two teams we love,” said Hueckel.
This story actually means the world to me also as Hueckel is my brother. I have witnessed his friendship grow with Baker over the years, but it started with their mutual love for Ohio State football.
They first met during basic training as freshman cadets at West Point.
“I walked right up to him, and said, hey where are you from? And he said, Pickerington, and I said, no way, I’m from Pickerington too, and he kind of looked me up and down and said, O-H?, and I said I-O! And I knew from then, we were going to be buddies,” said Baker.
Family, friends, and fellow Army officers met for a pre game tailgate Saturday in Columbus. Fans sported both Buckeye and Black Knight gear, just as Hueckel and Baker would sport Buckeye gear on game days during their time at the Military Academy.
“It’s a bond that we had that everybody knew…every Saturday when Ohio State was playing, we’d sneak back to the barracks and watch it, you know on our computers, or to listen to it,” said Baker.
Hueckel received his graduate degree from The Ohio State University alongside former Buckeye football linebackers Anthony Schlegel and Bobby Carpenter.
“It was a lot of fun getting to get to go to school with those guys, get some of the inside with what’s happening with the team, but also be in the classroom with them, and they really appreciated us military guys,” said Hueckel.
Hueckel and Baker cherish their tradition of attending Ohio State football games in Columbus, since they have both traveled the world during their time in the military.
“It was just and unbreakable bond that even on leave within the military we would come back, and always come together for the game, it was the one thing we could always share together,” said Baker.
They will be rooting for both the Buckeyes and the Black Knights Saturday as they attend the game in the Horse Shoe.
Hueckel said, “At the end of the day, it’s a terrific game for both teams and fan bases.”