PORTLAND, Ore. – Feb. 5, 2008 – Recognizing the need for reliable, upgraded transportation, The United States Naval Academy (USNA) was ready to purchase its first Class 8 truck.
Seeking the most efficient way to transport the Navy’s football equipment to away games, Syd Rodenbarger, director of business services for the USNA, began researching a truck for the Academy during the 2007 football season.
"We needed a truck that could handle a lot of different uses while also being the most efficient, productive, and drivable truck available,” Rodenbarger said. “We also wanted it to look really impressive."
Need for Transportation
Managing all revenue-generating business activities for USNA since 1997, Rodenbarger previously rented multiple vehicles, including a 24-foot straight truck to haul the Navy’s football equipment and 150-member Drum and Bugle Corps. The need to purchase a larger truck was logical for cost savings and added space for the team. Choosing a Cascadia, however, required research.
“Based on the Academy’s rules and regulations, we are required to competitively shop for new purchases,” Rodenbarger said. “We compared bids from three manufacturers based on cost, reputation, reliability and fuel economy.”
Assisting in their decision to purchase a new truck, John Cardwell, government sales, Baltimore Freightliner, presented Rodenbarger with the Cascadia.
“They were looking for that ‘wow’ factor,” Cardwell said. “I knew the Cascadia would make a big impression because it
was brand new, aesthetically pleasing and would give the Naval Academy
a very aerodynamic truck."
Seeing a large poster of the Cascadia, Rodenbarger was impressed with the on-highway vehicle. More importantly, it was a good fit for the Academy’s business needs.
“The decision came down to fuel economy and reputation. Freightliner is always mentioned as being reliable, and we knew the Cascadia was the best choice based on functionality and cost savings alone. We should have done this a long time ago,” Rodenbarger explained.
Blue and Gold
Creating a design to represent USNA was equally as important as choosing the Cascadia. Originally an all-white truck, Cardwell and the Baltimore Freightliner body shop worked together to customize the paint to match the school colors and helmets worn by the Navy football team.
The custom-made navy blue paint covers the cab and is bordered by gold on the bumper. A transparent silver flake covers the truck to give it that extra sparkle. The trailer is wrapped in a decorative skin clad in Navy football players while the interior seats are custom embroidered with the school mascot, Bill the Goat.
“This was the first time we took apart a Cascadia to custom paint the truck, and it was very easy to work with,” Cardwell said. “It was a great opportunity to develop a design that truly represents the Naval Academy.”
Hauling 28,000 pounds of equipment to each away game, the Cascadia is equipped with a 2007 Detroit Diesel Series 60® engine and 13-speed Eaton transmission. Often traveling with two drivers, the twin sleeper is roomy and comfortable to support multiple passengers.
CJ Jefferson, motor vehicle operator, USNA, agrees that the Cascadia is driver-friendly.
“This truck is top-of-the-line and proudly represents Navy football,” Jefferson said. “Traveling east of the Mississippi to San Diego, Calif., the heated seats and tilt and telescopic steering make it easy to drive, and the emergent system makes it smooth on the road. It feels like a luxury truck.”
Making its maiden voyage to the Army vs. Navy football game, the Cascadia became famous overnight.
“There is never a shortage of honking horns and pictures being taken while we are traveling,” Jefferson said. “You can tell this truck is first-class when you see it rolling down the road.”
Greg Morganthaler, assistant athletic director, USNA, knows what the Cascadia means to Navy football.
“The Cascadia supports our mission of fitness and athleticism by making it easier for our football team to travel to their games,” Morganthaler said. “But more than that, it’s a great recruitment tool for future football players and their families. This truck represents the success of the football program and our athletes.”
“We are excited to use the Cascadia throughout the entire season next year to really get a feel for its capabilities. Traveling to four games in the 2007 season, the Cascadia holds a 3-1 record, and we hope to continue the winning streak in 2008. This truck is sexy, and we’re proud that it is a part of the Naval Academy.”
In addition to the football team, the Cascadia will be used for transportation of goods and services to midshipmen throughout the off-season.
“The truck will be used with multiple trailers when new recruits arrive for Induction
Day held in July,” Rodenbarger said. “Because midshipmen cannot leave the campus once classes begin, we supply them with a complete sea bag of uniforms. The Cascadia will be vital in helping us deliver these goods that used to require multiple vehicles.”
Freightliner Trucks is a division of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Ore., and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.