ESPN's Weeklong Salute to Veterans Day


ESPN's Weeklong Salute to Veterans Day

America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans

November 6-11

ESPN will honor veterans and troops across its United States media platforms November 6-11 with America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans, culminating with the first-ever men’s college basketball game to be played on the deck of a U.S. military aircraft carrier. Michigan State will meet North Carolina in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic on The USS Carl Vinson on Friday, Nov. 11.  President Obama is expected to attend the game.

The schedule of programs and interstitials will connect sports with military service and pay tribute to those who have served and are serving today. Additionally, throughout the week, ESPN will carry messaging to drive donations to the USO ( in support of the troops, their families, families of the fallen and wounded warriors.

The presenting sponsor of America’s Heroes is USAA, a financial services organization dedicated to serving members of the military and their families by offering financial products and service to help service personnel reach financial goals. The advertising sponsorship will include in-stadium and on-air promotion. For more information go to

Programming Highlights:

Outside the Lines: Bob Ley hosts from the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. The special will include a piece on Bruce Smith, whose acceptance of the Heisman Trophy two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor was disrupted when a squadron of American Army planes was mistaken for German bombers causing an air raid alert to be signaled along the East Coast as he stepped to the podium. During his acceptance speech, Smith said, “America will owe a great debt to football when we finish this (war) off. It keeps millions of American youngsters like myself hard and able to take it, and come back for more. It teaches team play and cooperation, and eggs us on to go out and fight hard for the honor of our school, and likewise, that same spirit can be depended on when we have to fight like blazes to defend our country.”

First Take will originate from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, the largest and most important military medical training facility in the world, currently home of personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Co-hosts Jay Crawford and Dana Jacobson, as well as Skip Bayless, Jemele Hill and Darren Woodson will be at the home to Air Force 502nd Air Base Wing. (Monday, 10 a.m., ESPN2)

The Herd with Colin Cowherd / SportsNation will originate from The U.S. Army Military District of Washington which protects the Nation’s Capital and is responsible for The United States Army Band, The Fife & Drum Corps and The US Army Drill Team. Michele Beadle and Colin Cowherd will be overlooking downtown Washington D.C. (Tuesday, 10 a.m. ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS / 5 p.m. ESPN2)

Mike & Mike in the Morning will originate from The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City before a live audience. Co-hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will broadcast amidst newly restored aircrafts and illuminated exhibits in Hangar 2. (Thursday, 6 a.m. ESPN Radio, ESPN2)

Quicken Loans Carrier Classic: Michigan State and North Carolina open the basketball season playing a game aboard the USS Carl Vinson positioned in San Diego Harbor. Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas and Andy Katz describe the action. (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN, ESPN 3D)

Sunday NFL Countdown will present a piece on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who posted a photo of himself training with Navy SEALs in Arizona this summer doing hand-to-hand combat exercises. Brees is a big supporter of the military, and set up a charity for the families of the Navy SEALs who died this summer when their chopper was shot down by Al Qaeda forces. Brees, whose grandfather served in Okinawa with the Marines, has trained with the Marines in Guantanamo Bay, and got his 2009 pregame huddle speech from training with the Marines. Rachel Nichols reports. (Sunday, 10 a.m. ESPN)  

SportsCenter: Hannah Storm, Kevin Negandhi co-host with Colleen Dominguez reporting from the USS Carl Vinson. Segments will include: time lapse of court construction; military guests including sailor interaction; sunrise from the ship; Michigan St. and North Carolina practice; live pre-game warm-ups Friday. (Thursday-Friday)

ESPN The Magazine will present a slideshow of athletes who have served in its iPad app.

Corporate Outreach

Team ESPN, the corporate outreach program of ESPN, is launching a multi-faceted, multi-platform Veteran’s Week initiative, to include:

  • USO public service announcements in both English and Spanish;  
  • Messaging and graphics driving donations to the USO (; donations will go to USO initiatives for troops and their families, and for the USO wounded warrior and family centers in the U.S. and Germany;
  • Collections of apparel and items (toiletries, DVDs, etc.) by employees at ESPN’s U.S. locations for troops in remote areas through the USO’s “Holiday Convoy” program and for veterans hospitals;
  • ESPN employees and commentators will visit select Veterans hospitals in the U.S.;
  • ESPN The Magazine is sent to USO bases throughout the year.


  • Joint effort to promote support of military and veterans in stadium and on-air during Monday Night Football on Nov. 7 (Chicago at Philadelphia);
  • ESPN will host veterans from the Philadelphia area at the MNF Chalk Talk event prior to the game.

ESPN is also collaborating with The Walt Disney Company’s military and veteran’s initiatives, including support of the White House’s Joining Forces project, a national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.  Joining Forces PSAs will be carried on ESPN media.  For more information, go to

Vignettes throughout the week will include athletes, such as Tom Brady, LeBron James, and Mark Sanchez, sending their best wishes to current and retired troops, and Michigan St. and UNC coaches and players talking about various aspects of the Carrier Classic.


USS Carl Vinson  

  • 24 Hours on a Ship: sights and sounds of a day on the ship.
  • Floating City: What happens below the flight deck — the barbershop, the Forward Galley (mess hall), the berthings (sleeping/living area)   

JP Bolwahnn traded his fatigues for a college football uniform, and now the 34-year old University of San Diego sophomore is a running back for the Toreros football team. Tom Friend reports.

Jason Brown, St. Louis Rams center, had an older brother who was killed by a mortar shell blast while serving in Iraq eight years ago as a specialist with the Army’s 302nd military intelligence battalion. Rick Reilly reports.

Alan Moore, a 61-year-old Vietnam veteran and grandfather of five, became the oldest player to play in a college football game, kicking an extra point for NAIA Faulkner in its season-opener in September.

About the USO

The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops and their families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen. The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. We rely on the generosity of our volunteers and donors. To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit

America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans Schedule

Date Program Time (ET)
Sun, Nov 6 Sunday NFL Countdown
Outside the Lines from Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona
10 a.m., ESPN
10 a.m., ESPN2 
Mon, Nov 7 First Take from Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio, TX)
Monday Night Football: Bears @ Eagles
10 a.m., ESPN2
8:30 p.m., ESPN
Tue, Nov 8 The Herd w/Colin Cowherd from US Army Military District of Washington
10 a.m., Radio / ESPNEWS5 p.m., ESPN2
Wed, Nov 9 Outside the Lines First Report (Sunday re-air) 3 p.m., ESPN 
Thu, Nov 10 Mike & Mike in the Morning from The Intrepid
SportsCenter segments begin
6 a.m., ESPN Radio/ESPN2
9 a.m., ESPN
Fri, Nov 11 Carrier Classic: Mich. St.-UNC aboard USS Carl Vinson
7 p.m., ESPN, ESPN 3D

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Ben Cafardo

I lead communications strategy and execution for ESPN’s NBA, MLB, FIBA and Little League World Series properties. I’m also a proud consumer of all things ESPN.
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