UF Football: Military Heroes Recognized at UF-Arkansas Game Saturday

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

The UAA will salute those who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces on Saturday.

The University Athletic Association will recognize 24 members of the armed forces (Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, & Coast Guard), veterans, and local First Responders as part of Florida’s annual Saluting Those Who Serve game, presented by Vystar Credit Union.

The service members and veterans that will be recognized during the Gators’ matchup against Arkansas span across multiple generations, as the list includes individuals who served during the Vietnam War, Korean War, the war in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Members of the University Florida Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) will also be recognized.

Each individual either attended the University of Florida or has a special tie to the Gators or the UF community.

Individuals Recognized

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  *   Sandra Torres-Pinto (U.S. Marine Corps, 1981-2006) – Honorary Ms. Two Bits.
  *   Matthew Peter Dezelan (U.S. Army, 2001-11)
  *   Kenneth Sassaman (U.S. Army, 1953-54)
  *   James Wersal (U.S. Army, 2003-11)
  *   Virginia Court (U.S. Navy, 1956-58)
  *   Oscar Fuentes (U.S. Navy, 2011-19)
  *   Hugo Gomez (U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard, 2010-19)
  *   Brandon Lee (U.S. Air Force, 2011-20)
  *   Doug Robertson (U.S. Air Force, 1979-99)
  *   Bob McNamee (U.S. Coast Guard, 1989-94)
  *   Savanna Turner (U.S. Coast Guard, 2011-present)
  *   Ernie Benjamin Jr. (Gainesville Fire Rescue)
  *   Dillon Stewart (University of Florida Police Department)
  *   Garrett Head (UF Air Force ROTC)
  *   Bailey Sickler (UF Air Force ROTC)
  *   Hallie Rocco (UF Air Force ROTC)
  *   Harrison Kahme (UF Army ROTC)
  *   Isabella Brasi (UF Army ROTC)
  *   Darielle Costa (UF Army ROTC)
  *   Thalia Fernandez (UF Army ROTC)
  *   Kevin Gurcan (UF Army ROTC)
  *   Jackson McClure (UF Army ROTC)
  *   Hugens Casimir (UF Navy ROTC)
  *   Zachary Landers (UF Navy ROTC)

Operation Hat TrickMilitary Appreciation Gear

Operation Hat Trick generates awareness and support for the recovery of wounded service members and veterans through the sale of OHT branded merchandise and products, proceeds of which are donated to selected organizations that fulfill the OHT mission.

OHT is dedicated to American service members as they recover from the visible and invisible wounds of war. They help them move past the traumas of battle so they can focus on their lives and families at home.

VyStar Credit Union

VyStar Credit Union’s history is deeply rooted in service to our military and veterans. Since the day they were founded in 1952 on Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax), VyStar has stayed true to their roots, supporting veterans, civil service and military employees, and their families by sponsoring and participating in many military-focused events, charities and other initiatives each year.  Their most recent initiative, the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, provides for several veteran support initiatives and further solidifies the credit union’s deep connection with our veterans.