Football's Salute The Troops More Than Usual Ceremony This Week

GO KNIGHTS U.S. Army presence will be obvious both on the field and in the skies pregame.
U.S. Army presence will be obvious both on the field and in the skies pregame.

Nov. 20, 2009

By Leigh Torbin

Every week, UCF Athletics and Holler-Classic "Salute the Troops" but this week's salute will be far more visible than just a TV-timeout recognition as, just before kickoff, direct ties between the UCF football family and the U.S. Army will be on proud display for all to see.

At the conclusion of the national anthem, the game will have a flyover from three U.S. Army UH-60L "Blackhawk" helicopters. The Pilot in Command of the lead helicopter is Chief Warrant Officer 3 Penn Holsapple who played for the Knights from 1988-91. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Holsapple made 61 career tackles in the UCF secondary with one interception, starting four games. The Crew Chief on Holsapple's Blackhawk will be Sergeant Stephanie Marino, also a UCF graduate.

The helicopters are courtesy of Company C, 1st Battalion, 244th Assault Helicopter Battalion which is a ten-ship Assault Helicopter Company comprised of UH-60L "Blackhawk" helicopters based out of Hernando County Airport in Brooksville, Florida. Detachment 1 of D Company, E Company, and HHC Soldiers provide the maintenance, logistical, and administrative support that allows the UH-60 Blackhawk crews to accomplish their missions. These Florida Army National Guard aviation units were deployed to Balad, Iraq and Camp Udairi, Kuwait from February 2004 to February 2005 and from May 2008 to April 2009. They were assigned to Task Force Voodoo within Task Force 185th and the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade comprising the largest National Guard Task Force ever deployed in combat. The flight company conducted Air Assault operations in support of TF 714, TF Ghost, and the Special Operations Command, general support missions for the Multinational Coalition Forces of Iraq (MNC-I), and directly supporting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. During its combat tours, these Soldiers flew over 10,000 accident-free combat flight hours in support of the Global War on Terror.



Additionally, moments after the flyover, the UCF football team will be led onto the field behind a special flag. Defensive tackle Wes Tunuufi Sauvao's father, Eneriko Sauvao, is a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army who has served two tours of duty in Iraq and is currently on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. Sauvao and his unit sent a battle-used American flag to UCF along with a video from the troops wishing the team luck. The Knights will carry that flag onto the field with them on Saturday when they face Tulane.

Tickets for the 2 p.m. game are still available and can be purchased either by calling the UCF Athletic Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000, logging onto, or by visiting the Bright House Networks Stadium ticket office. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Fox 35 Reliable One