Correction appended: Sept. 17, 2012.
Saturday’s home game against Navy, which is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m., will have a fitting theme –– military appreciation.
The reason for the theme is to allow the university to show its appreciation for those who serve in the military.
“Penn State has a long history with the military, and we are grateful for the men and women who choose to go into the armed forces and serve our country,” University Spokeswoman Lisa Powers wrote in an email. “It is a tremendous point of pride for Penn State.”
Many military-related events will take place before and during the game, Major Matthew Heckman said.
Some of the events include Navy F18s flying over Beaver Stadium to start the game and military recognition for veterans, those who are currently serving and Penn State ROTC on the field, Heckman said.
“The cadets of Detachment 720 AFROTC will be taking part in a pregame tailgate with Detachment Alumni, cadets and cadre,” Edgar Acosta of 720th Air Force ROTC Detachment wrote in an email.
Acosta said the cadets will start the game with a traditional color-guard ceremony, and before halftime the drill team will perform a “rifle trick routine.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the class of 2011’s gift, The Veteran’s Plaza, will take place on Friday, an event Heckman called “more solemn” on Old Main lawn, he said.
“The plaza will honor all Penn State veterans, including the late Lt. Michael P. Murphy, the only Penn State alumnus to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor,” Powers wrote.
Powers said Penn State has a deep commitment to the ROTC programs at the university and is “committed to doing everything possible to ensure they receive the honors they so richly deserve.”
Penn State has the largest Reserve Officer Training Corps in the Big Ten, with over 630 students in the program, Heckman said.
Among the events taking place on Saturday, 65 active-duty cadets and veterans from all the branches of the military will be recognized, he said.
Heckman said they will also be escorting “the Parade of Champions,” NCAA winners, which include the wrestling and women’s volleyball teams.
Penn State football tickets were also made available for purchase, giving cadets without season tickets the opportunity to watch the game with their peers, he said. There will be cadet student section seating adjacent to the Blue Band, where approximately 200 cadets in uniform will be cheering on Penn State, he said.
“We look forward to showing-off our military pride and supporting our men and women in uniform for the guests in attendance,” Acosta wrote.
There are many “close ties” between the military and Penn State, Heckman said. There are currently 500 plus military veterans enrolled in classes at Penn State, and over 7,000 military officers in its history through Penn State’s ROTC program, he said.
“As part of our land-grant charter, Penn State has offered training in military studies since 1859, and today more than 6,000 Penn State ROTC graduates have received a commission in the armed forces,” Powers wrote. “Currently, 19 of Penn State’s 24 locations offer at least one ROTC program either as a host unit or in partnership with another Pennsylvania college or university.”
Heckman said it is good for the university to recognize those in the armed forces.
“It's fantastic that the university and Coach O'Brien have recognized those that are serving from Penn State,” he said.
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article stated incorrect information about who would be recognized at the home football game against Navy. Recognition was planned for veterans, those who are currently serving and Penn State ROTC members. The above article reflects the correct information. The Daily Collegian apologizes for this error.