ESPN will honor veterans and troops in programming across its U.S. media platforms Wednesday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Nov. 11 with its fourth annual America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative presented by USAA.
The five-day tribute will be highlighted by the Sears Armed Forces Classic men's basketball game between No. 14 Michigan State University and the University of Connecticut at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, Nov. 7. Coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
SportsCenter will also originate from the Air Base, telecasting before a live audience of servicemen and women in Hangar 3, adjacent to Hangar 5 where the Spartans and Huskies will play.
Domestically, ESPN will take to the road from Connecticut to Colorado to California. On Thursday, ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning (6-10 a.m. simulcast on ESPN2) will broadcast from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., and SportsNation (5-6 p.m. ESPN2) will originate from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Saturday's College GameDay Built by the Home Depot (9-10 a.m. ESPNU, 10-Noon ESPN) will take place before the crew aboard the USS San Diego in San Diego.
America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans Programming
Wednesday, Nov. 7
- Tributes (news and information platforms on ESPN and ESPN Deportes) More than 40 tributes from athletes and coaches to past and present servicemen and women to run throughout the Salute
- Outside the Lines (3 p.m. ESPN) Two pieces: "Saratoga War Horses" about veterans connecting with former race horses to work through the emotional scars of warfare (Tom Rinaldi reports); "Project Healing Waters" about Veterans using fly fishing as therapy (Chris Connelly reports)
- NBA 76ers-Hornets (8 p.m. ESPN); Spurs-Lakers (10:30 p.m. ESPN) with tributes and vignettes
Thursday, Nov. 8
- Mike & Mike in the Morning (6-10 a.m. ESPN Radio, ESPN2) ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic broadcast from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's dining hall before the Corps of Cadets
- SportsNation (5 p.m. ESPN2) Charissa Thompson and Marcellus Wiley co-host from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. before a Cadet-filled audience
- SportsCenter (6 p.m. ESPN) Hannah Storm and Kevin Negandhi co-host from Ramstein Air Base, Germany
- Thursday Night Football (7:30 p.m. ESPN, Florida St.-Virginia Tech) with tributes and vignettes
Friday, Nov. 9
- SportsCenter (9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; ESPN, ESPNEWS) Hannah Storm and Kevin Negandhi from Ramstein Air Base, Germany
- Armed Forces Classic (5:30 p.m. ESPN) Michigan St.-Connecticut from Ramstein Air Base, Germany called by Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Andy Katz
Saturday, Nov. 10
- College GameDay (9 a.m. ESPNU, 10 a.m. ESPN) from San Diego aboard the USS San Diego
- College Football (day-long) vignettes and in-game elements
Sunday, Nov. 11
- Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ESPNEWS) Two pieces: "Saratoga War Horses" about veterans connecting with former race horses to work through the emotional scars of warfare (Tom Rinaldi reports); "Project Healing Waters" about Veterans using fly fishing as therapy (Chris Connelly reports)
- NASCAR Now (2 p.m. ESPN) Feature on former team owner and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bud Moore, a participant in the D-Day landings
- NASCAR AdvoCare 500 (3 p.m. ESPN, Phoenix) coverage of NASCAR tributes
America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans Features
PURPLE HEART PLAYER — Clemson walk-on wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez is a decorated Afghanistan war veteran (Tom Rinaldi reports). (Nov. 10, College GameDay; Nov. 11 ESPN Deportes)
TOUR OF DUTY — A Chicago-area father and son are visiting all 32 NFL stadiums this season and bringing with them to each game two military veterans from the Wounded Warriors project. (Rick Reilly reports. (Nov. 12, Monday Night Countdown)
RUNNING TO FIND CLARITY — During her two deployments in the Middle East, Master Sergeant Iris Cruz-Story used running as a way to remain fit and help ease the passing of the days away from her family in Maryland. (ESPN Deportes)
Ramstein Air Base Vignettes – Look-ins at life on the base
CONTROL TOWER – Importance of the control tower at U.S. Air Forces headquarters in Europe
WOUNDED WARRIORS – Injured spend 24-48 hours in the CASF (Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility) transitioning from combat to the United States
ABOARD A C130 – Uses and capabilities of the military cargo plane
DAY IN THE LIFE – Sights and sounds of various work assignments at Ramstein Air Base
America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans ESPN The Magazine
On-line exclusive on Captain Ivan Castro, a veteran who lost his sight in Iraq and is now an inspirational endurance athlete. Captain Castro
America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans ESPN.com
A piece on Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who was raised in military family, giving back to veterans, will be posted November 7. Pat Yasinskas reports.
America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans Team ESPN
ESPN's corporate outreach program will launch a multi-faceted, multiplatform Veterans Week program:
- ESPN will ask fans to consider a donation to the USO Wishbook at www.USO.org/espn. The USO Wishbook allows sports fans to give a special gift that lifts the spirits of our military heroes and their families. ESPN will run USO PSAs to promote the campaign across select ESPN media platforms from November 4 -12.
- ESPN employees in Bristol and New York will assemble 1200 USO deployment kits and write messages of support for troops being deployed to serve our country. Each kit will include a copy of ESPN The Magazine.
- In collaboration with The Walt Disney Company's Heroes Work Here program, dozens of ESPN volunteers will team up with The Mission Continues, a military service organization, for a day of service and volunteerism at ABRI/Homes for the Brave, a transitional housing facility for homeless veterans in Bridgeport, Conn. Volunteers will work alongside veterans to remodel, paint and upgrade the facility. Joining ESPN is The Home Depot, sponsor of ESPN's College GameDay. Volunteers from The Home Depot will join Team ESPN and Mission Continues to paint living quarters, build new storage and cabinetry.