Fans Encouraged to Arrive Early for Veterans Salute

Honoring the military and veterans as gate sentinels is a Nebraska tradition.

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By Randy York

When the Huskers host Northwestern Saturday at 2:30 p.m., Nebraska will salute all those who represent our country, serve in the military and have fought in our nation’s wars. The Cornhusker Marching Band will salute all branches of the military with a medley of their fight songs. The color guard will represent all branches, and the honorary gate sentinels represent all branches and all conflicts fought since WWII.

Fans are encouraged to arrive at least one hour before kickoff to witness Nebraska’s traditional spectacle that will honor four Nebraska WWII veterans – Private First-Class Eugene Miller (Army) from Columbus; Technical Sergeant Hollis Miller (Army) from York; Aerographer’s Mate Third-Class Marvin Schulz (Coast Guard) from Seward, and Petty Officer Third-Class Vern Trofholz (Navy) from York. Two Korean War veterans will be gate sentinels: Private First-Class Bill Hartmann (Army) from Seward, and Airman First-Class Vern Lemmert (Air Force) from Pleasant Dale. The two Vietnam War veteran gate sentinels are Machinist Mate Third-Class David Pickrel (Navy S.E.A.L.) from Hickman and Corporal James Weinberger (Marine Corps) from Yutan. The two veteran gate sentinels from Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom are Command Sergeant Major Ruth Schuster (Army Reserve) from Omaha and Sergeant Joshua Armon (Army National Guard) from Doniphan.

In addition, Nebraska is proud to claim five United States Navy Rear Admirals that are graduates of Nebraska’s ROTC program. Four will be inside Memorial Stadium: Rear Admiral Douglas McAneny  (Bellevue), who serves as commandant of the National War College; Rear Admiral Robin Watters (Bellevue), who serves as Chief of Staff for the United States Pacific Command; Rear Admiral Sean Filipowski (Oakland), who serves as Deputy Director of Operations for U.S. Cyber Command; and Rear Admiral David Lewis (Geneva), who serves as program executive officer for Navy non-nuclear ships. The fifth honorary Rear Admiral gate sentinel is Michael Franken, who is deployed and commanding a combined joint task force “Horn of Africa” at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa.

Shortly after the sentinels are honored, Lee Greenwood classic “Proud to be an American” will reign over the stadium as photos of Nebraska-based troops from around the world are shown on the big screens. Later, right before the national anthem, a moment of silence will be observed for those who have lost their lives fighting for America. During the national anthem, the names of those who have died while fighting for our freedom since 9-1-1 will be scrolled on the big screens. Approximately 250 active military/veterans will be in uniform behind the Husker bench to support the team.

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I just wanted to say thank you Nebraska for being a supporter of our veterans past and present. I served my country for 20 years in the Navy. I just had an overwhelming feeling of pride after reading this article. Being from a small town (Lyman, Neb.) and a veteran myself, I couldn’t be more proud of the school I root for and take almost as much pride in as I did serving my country. I will one day make it there for a game and will show my pride for a team that fights with the same tenacity as these veterans did and do for their country. Thanks Big Red for great memories and thank the vets for our freedom. Go Big Red!!! AE1 Sam McLaughlin USN ret., Lusby, Maryland