On April 9, the University of North Georgia (UNG) Department of Athletics will complete Operation Nighthawks of Honor, its yearlong tribute to the nation's armed forces, by recognizing 11 service members who were former or current UNG students.
"Operation Nighthawks of Honor is a special yearlong initiative that recognized UNG's rich tradition of military excellence," said UNG director of athletics Lindsay Reeves. "Our tight community of Nighthawks greatly respects and appreciates all that armed service members, past and present, sacrifice for our country."
Ten of those honored are former UNG students who were killed while serving their country in the armed forces; the other honoree, CPL Thomas Coggins, is a wounded veteran currently enrolled at UNG. All 11 honorees and their families will be recognized prior to the UNG baseball team's 2 p.m. game with Young Harris College on April 9. Those attending the game will be able to meet the Operation Nighthawks of Honor families at 1 p.m. and the on-field presentation and first pitch ceremony is scheduled for 1:40 p.m.
This year's honorees are:
- Baseball: LTC Rudy Quillian (World War II)
- Basketball (Men): CPT Charles B. Johnson (Vietnam)
- Basketball (Women): CPT Jeremy A. Chandler (Afghanistan)
- Cross Country (Women): CPL Thomas Coggins (Afghanistan)
- Golf (Men): James E. Corley (World War II)
- Golf (Women): MAJ Kevin Jenrette (Afghanistan)
- Rifle: CPT William A. Branch (Vietnam)
- Soccer (Women): SGT Andrew McConnell (Afghanistan)
- Soccer (Men): SFC Charles H. Warren (Iraq)
- Softball: CPT Robert A. Thompson (Vietnam)
- Tennis (Men and Women): MAJ John Rudolph Pearson (Vietnam)
Each of the department's intercollegiate teams paid a season-long tribute to a UNG service member, ranging from displaying a commemorative jersey at games, jersey patches worn by current players, initials on team hats and other acts of remembrance.
Some of the jerseys and other items used by Nighthawk teams throughout the year to recognize the honorees also will be raffled in a silent auction to benefit the UNG Corps of Cadets Endowment Fund. To bid on items up for auction, visit the website http://ungathletics.com/auctions/index.aspx.
One of only six federally designated senior military colleges in the nation, UNG is The Military College of Georgia and its nationally recognized Army ROTC program attracts students from across the state, region and nation. UNG has commissioned more than 50 general officers, 10 of whom are currently serving in a variety of command positions around the world.