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Arizona State University Military Overview

  • ASU has a rich history of service to our country with 7,671 living degreed alumni with a military affiliation.
  • Similarly the ASU Alumni Association also has 1,361 non-degree members with a military affiliation.

Sun Devil football military history

Arizona State's proud history of military service by football players dates back to the initial years of the program's existence, starting in 1898 with three players that were members of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry in the Spanish-American War, otherwise known as Theodore Roosevelt's "Rough Riders".

The Pat Tillman Legacy

  • The Tillman Foundation at ASU was created in 2004 to honor Pat's legacy and pay tribute to his commitment to leadership and service. Its mission is to invest in military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships.
  • The Tillman Veterans Center at ASU was opened in 2011 on the Tempe campus to connect veterans with academic and support service, as well as assist with certifying educational benefits.
"It is an honor to be recognized again as a military friendly school," said Steven Borden, director of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. "ASU and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center remain committed to continued development of programs and policies to support veterans and their families."
  • Tillman's presence in Sun Devil Athletics 
    • All 21 Sun Devil Athletics teams wear a PT-42 patch on its jerseys, the football team enters Sun Devil Stadium through the Tillman Tunnel and there is a special case and mural in the football locker room honoring Pat's legacy.
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    • Wearing Tillman's No. 42 jersey during practice
  • Pat's Run, which has been held annually in April at ASU's Sun Devil Stadium since 2005, attracts more than 35,000 participants, volunteers and spectators from across the country
    • MORE on the run
    • Participating in the annual Pat's Run is a great way to show your support for not only the Tillman family, but also all veterans across the nation and any individual who is set on creating a legacy of their own.
    • Pat's Run features a 4.2 mile run/walk, a .42 mile Kids Run for children 12 and under and a Finish Line Expo.
    • The 4.2 mile course winds through the streets of Tempe and both events are staged so that all participants finish on the 42-yard line on Frank Kush Field inside Sun Devil Stadium, symbolic of the #42 jersey that Pat wore while he was a Sun Devil.
    • Proceeds from Pat's Run directly support the Tillman Military Scholars program.

The 1996 Rose Bowl team's military ties

A trio of student-athletes that helped guide the Sun Devils to the 1996 Pacific-10 Conference Championship and a berth in the 1997 Rose Bowl earned First-Team All-America honors on the football field and also served in the military. Tillman was on the team, along with two others:

  • Jeremy Staat, an All-America defensive tackle and former NFL player, joined the Marin Corps in 2006 and served one tour of duty in Iraq.
    • He established the Jeremy Staat Foundation to bring living history to the classroom by offering life experiences for youth.
    • His Wall to Wall bicycle ride, which began in Bakersfield, Calif., and ended at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., helped raise awareness for vets across the country. 
  • Derrick Rodgers, an All-America linebacker who played eight seasons in the NFL, served in the Air Force before playing football at ASU. 
    • He recently earned his degree though ASU's online program.

Other notable Sun Devils in the military

  • Initially drafted into the 1st Army Corps in 1942, Ira O'Neal served in the 42nd Aviation Squadron as a first lieutenant and was a pioneering member of the "Tuskegee Airmen" squadron, the first African-American military aviators in the history of the United States Armed Forces.
  • Lieutenant General John F. Goodman was the Sun Devil's starting quarterback in 1965 and 1966, and earned his B.S. from ASU. He was the Commanding General of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific Fleet and is one of the most decorated military commanders in U.S history.
  • Jake Sheffield, a defensive tackle on the 2012 team, spent approximately 18 months serving two tours of duty in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps

At a University level

  • The Department of Military Science at Arizona State University was founded in 1935 and is located on the Tempe campus.
  • It includes the Arizona State University Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), the ASU Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), and the ASU Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp (AFROTC)
    • All three are committed to upholding the values of the United States Armed Services and dedicated to a lifetime of selfless service to the Nation
  • Enrollment
    • The ASU NROTC program was established in 2010 and has increased from 75 that year to 128 in 2012. With its rapid growth, intense interest and strong support from the local community, it is expected to be largest NROTC in the country next year (excluding senior military colleges).
    • Enrollment in the ASU ROTC program has steadily increased each year for the past four years from 198 in 2009-10 to 241 in 2012-13
    • ASU's AFROTC Det. 025 was founded in July 1948 has had a long history of excellence in commissioning outstanding officers and currently has more than 120 cadets.
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