Military Appreciation Day

It's always a good idea to arrive early at Rentschler Field on Game Day. Saturday, when UConn plays Western Michigan, there are some very special festivities planned. UConn has declared it "Military Appreciation Day."

Here's the full schedule of events, courtesy UConn:

The University of Connecticut will host "Military Appreciation Day" on Saturday as the UConn football team takes on Western Michigan at 3:30 p.m. at Rentschler Field. All military personnel in the state were offered discount tickets to the game, working with the Connecticut National Guard and the UConn Army and Air Force ROTC.

Prior to the game, there will be a military presence at Fan Fest, which opens at 11:30 a.m. and runs through kickoff between Gates A and B. Many branches of the military will have displays with vehicles. During the pregame ceremonies in the stadium, a 160 feet by 300 feet American flag will be on the field for the National Anthem. That flag takes 265 people to unfurl. Also during the anthem, there will be a flyover by a C-21 Aircraft from the Connecticut Air National Guard, which will pass over Rentschler Field at 1,000 feet.

There will be several on-field recognitions during the game. Between the first and second quarter, there will be recognition of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities, which is taking place at UConn this past week and over the weekend. EBV is a consortium of seven business schools nationwide that offer disabled veterans a multifaceted program, free of charge, to give them the skills needed to realize their entrepreneurial ideas.

The program includes a four-week online course, an intensive nine-day on-campus experience, and an ongoing mentoring program as the veterans work to make their ideas reality. It is supported by a three-year, $450,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Veterans Business Development. UConn is the only participating university in New England. The on-site portion of this year's program began Sept. 23, and runs through Oct. 1, when the 25 service members will graduate during ceremonies at the Connecticut Convention Center.

At halftime, there will be a military parade and military band show. On the field will be many UConn alumni who are veterans. Veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam and service in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan will be part of the ceremonies. There will be veterans representing all branches of the military services as well as the National Guard. There will also be current UConn students who are veterans – now back in Storrs completing their education – along with several ROTC Students.

Recognition will be given to Major Daniel Murphy, UConn Class of 1990, who is the current commander of the 192nd Military Police Battalion and First Lieutenant James Locke, UConn Class of 2006, who is the current Commander of the 143rd Military Police Company. First Lieutenant Locke will lead the 143rd Military Police Company into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.


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