Penn State will be hold what could be the biggest tailgate in the University’s history this Saturday, as roughly 10,000 people are expected to attend the Military Appreciation tailgate for members of the military and their families. The ticketed event will be held at the Bryce Jordan Center, across the street from Beaver Stadium, and will include free food, entertainment and prizes.
Through the generosity of members of the Penn State community and businesses, those 10,000 people will then enter Beaver Stadium to watch the game for free through the Seats for Servicemembers program. The event has nearly doubled in size in just one year, as last year’s event drew roughly 5,500 military members for the Military Appreciation game last season.
The game vs. Army kicks off at noon, with plenty of recognition activities taking place before and during the game. Both Penn State and Army West Point will be represented in this year’s honorary coin-toss.
Guion S. Bluford will represent Penn State. Bluford received a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from Penn State in 1964 and was honored as a Penn State Distinguished Alumnus in 1983. His career began as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, flying 144 missions during the Vietnam War, before becoming a NASA astronaut in 1979. Bluford became the first African-American to travel in space in 1983, as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Challenger. He retired in 1993, and was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997.
Bruce K. Heim will represent Army. Heim received a bachelor of science from the U.S. Military Academy, where he earned a varsity letter in football, and earned an MBA in insurance and real estate from Penn State. He served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division, and received the Bronze Star award for meritorious service in connection with ground operations against a hostile force during the period July 2, 1965, to June 29, 1966. He is the founder and chairman of Keystone Real Estate Group, and co-founder/owner/partner of Hospitality Asset Management Co.
Patricia Young, Mary Risewick and Margaret Conard, daughters of Harry “Lighthorse” Wilson, will represent both Penn State and Army. Their father played football at Penn State from 1921-1923, leading the Nittany Lions to the 1923 Rose Bowl. After the 1923 season in which he scored every touchdown for the Lions in the final six games, he went on to play at Army from 1924-1927. He was captain of the Army team in 1927 and was an All-American in both 1923 and 1926. More impressive than his athletic accomplishments was his military service. He retired as a Colonel in 1956 and flew 45 combat missions in World War II. He also received the Distinguished Flying Cross with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters. He passed away in 1990.
Selfie from space
Those attending the game should be sure to look skyward during the first media timeout in the first quarter of the game, as DigitalGlobe, a leading global provider of commercial high‑resolution Earth imagery products and services will use a satellite to take high-resolution photos of Beaver Stadium. DigitalGlobe is a leading global provider of commercial high‑resolution Earth imagery products and services. The company has strong connections with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), whose director, Robert Cardillo, will be visiting Penn State this weekend.
Members of Penn State Ability Athletics will be honored during the break between the first and second quarters of the game. Some members of the Ability Athletics team are Wounded Warriors. Click here to read about how Ability Athletics helps Wounded Warriors focus on their strengths.
The Penn State Blue Band will perform a Military Appreciation-inspired halftime show.
The Army West Point Glee Club will join with the Penn State Glee Club to sing God Bless America after the conclusion of the Blue Band halftime show.
Beaver Stadium video board messages will include a 30-second shoutout from a group of Penn State alumni serving aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (TR) aircraft carrier, currently deployed in the Persian Gulf. Penn State alumni aboard the ship, which is the largest aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy, include commanding officer Capt. Craig Clapperton and Capt. Fred Pyle, commander of Destroyer Squadron Two. The only university to have more alumni than Penn State aboard the TR is the U.S. Naval Academy.
Additional recognition of all branches of the military will occur throughout the game, which is sold out.