WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Xavier University held its annual military appreciation basketball game at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio Feb. 3.
The Xavier Musketeers basketball team won an action packed game against the Georgetown Hoyas 96 to 91 in overtime. The game was played in front of 10,758 fans.
This annual event is dedicated to honoring both current and former members of this nation's armed forces. It featured several tributes throughout the night.
Col. Leonard Rose, 88th Mission Support Group commander, delivered the game ball to the officials at half court after receiving it from a Xavier University Army ROTC member who rappelled from the rafters.
Rose, who represented Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s leadership, was accompanied by three Airmen, Staff Sgt. Michael Reed, Senior Airman Scott Dymacek and Senior Airman Joice Dominguez.
“It’s great to be a part of this event and experience firsthand how the community welcomes and embraces our veterans,” said Rose. “That was demonstrated by the standing ovation these fans just gave Mr. Thomas Anderson (a World War II veteran) for his service and sacrifice to his country.”
Anderson was recognized for his service in the Battle of the Bulge where he was wounded while trying to disarm a booby trap. Anderson lost one hand and part of his fingers on his other hand. Anderson received the Bronze Star and two Purple Heart medals.
As a salute to the military, Xavier gave away t-shirts with military themes on them.
At halftime, legendary Xavier broadcasters and athletes Joe Sunderman and Bryon Larkin conducted a radio interview with Rose.
Rose explained that veterans have a lot to offer their communities after they’re done wearing the uniform and it’s important that communities give back and show veterans the appreciation they deserve.
Xavier offers a state of the art veterans center to support veterans and dependents’ transition from the military lifestyle into the college lifestyle. The student veterans’ center offers veterans a space of their own where they can work on assignments, print papers, or just have a cup of coffee and conversations with other veterans.
This is the third year in a row Wright-Patterson has been part of Xaviers’ military appreciation basketball game.
Currently the Musketeers are in second place in the Big East conference behind Villanova with a conference record of 9-2 and overall record of 21-3. Xavier is currently ranked fifth in the country.