Women's Hoops to Host Military Tribute at Saturday's Home Opener vs. San Diego

Nov. 15, 2004

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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The Arizona State women's basketball program will pay tribute to current and retired military members throughout the state of Arizona at Saturday night's home opener against the University of San Diego.

All military members serving in active, reserve and national guard units in Arizona and their families will receive free admission to Saturday night's game via pass list. Pass lists need to be submitted to ASU by the end of the business day on Thursday and can be faxed to the ASU women's basketball office at (480) 965-8344.

Retired veterans who present military ID cards at the ticket windows on game day will also be admitted free of charge. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

'Some of our booster club members are military veterans, and this year they approached me with the vision of having the Arizona State Women's Basketball program acknowledge the service and sacrifice made by our military members and their families living and serving in Arizona,' said ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne. 'We are very proud to pay tribute to our servicemen and women and thank them for everything that they have done for our country.'

A joint-service color guard will be presented during the national anthem at Saturday night's game, which will be sung by Second Lt. Mario Mercado, an Arizona National Guard member scheduled to deploy to Iraq by the end of the month. A tribute will also take place at halftime. Cadets from ASU's Air Force and Army Reserve Officers Training Programs will also be present for this event.

The ASU campus is a 15-minute drive from the headquarters of the Arizona National Guard Bureau. More than 2,800 Arizona Army National Guard and Air National Guard soldiers and airmen have been ordered to federal active duty in support of Operation's Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom since September of 2001. The men and women of the Arizona National Guard also support the state and homeland by supporting local emergency responders for state emergencies and providing security for critical infrastructures when called.

Approximately 30 miles west of the campus is Luke Air Force Base, home of the 56th Fighter Wing, the largest fighter wing in the world with eight flying squadrons and more than 185 F-16 'Fighting Falcons.' More than 146 new F-16 pilots were trained this past year. Additionally, 750 F-16 crew chiefs, responsible for maintaining the aircraft worldwide, also graduated this year. Luke AFB also deployed a daily average of 200 airmen providing medical, civil engineering and security forces support worldwide.

The 944 FW, also located at Luke, is an Air Force Reserve Wing whose mission is 'to train F-16 pilots and provide combat ready warriors for the Expeditionary Air Force.' The Reserve Wing has deployed 200 members to Iraq to support Air Force units in the theater of operation.

The Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center in West Phoenix, is home to over 600 Navy and Marine Corps Reserve members living throughout the Valley.

General admission tickets for ASU women's basketball cost $5 and can be purchased in advance by calling the ASU ticket office at (480) 965-2381 or at ticket windows at the game.

For more information, call the Sun Devil women's basketball office at (480) 965-6086.