Posted on 17. Feb, 2010 by in All, NCAA Basketball.

Kansas State Basketball Honors the Military

A growing theme around the sporting world is teams honoring falling alumni with a patch on their jersey.  From high school sports to college athletics and onto the professional ranks, teams are placing ribbons, numerals and initials on their game jersey’s to draw attention, recognize and honor those who have meant a great deal to their program and want to celebrate their lives.  For the Kansas State Wildcats Men’s Basketball team, the patch on their game jersey chest is to honor the current and heroic 1-7 FA (Field Infantry) Division of the Fort Riley Military Base, just minutes from the Manhattan campus.  The patch appears on all three colors of KSU’s jersey top and is proudly displayed every game.

In September of 2008, a partnership was formed with the 1-7 FA and the Wildcats basketball team.  The unit was scheduled for an October 2008 deployment to Iraq, and was in the final stages of their training at Fort Riley.  Head Basketball Coach Frank Martin brought his entire roster of players, coaches and staff to Fort Riley on September 11th, 2008 to participate in a full training session, exactly like the troops were going through.

The Kansas State members were placed in full military gear, drove around in the units humvee vehicles and ate in the bases mess hall, allowing them to feel like part of the troop.  “The only thing they could not simulate for us was the temperature,” Director of Basketball Operations Andy Assaley said.  “Everything else was exactly the same.”

After running through a series of lectures and drills, the members of the basketball program was split up and placed in a humvee for battle training.  They were driven around a simulation course that mirrored the streets of Baghdad, Iraq, and were in charge of returning fire at the enemies that shot at them.  After the simulation was completed, each member was handed a breakdown of their shooting stats and how they performed.  “I was awful,” said Assaley.  “I killed a few civilians, but no bad guys.”

Following this terrific experience, the Men’s Basketball Team returned to campus to continue their own training, getting ready for the season and a grueling Big 12 Conference Schedule.  Several days later, the 1-7 FA sent about a dozen of their troops to Manhattan to reverse the roles, and train with the team.  The troops attended classes, weightlifting sessions and were put through an on court practice to get a feel for what a college athlete goes through on a day to day basis.

1-7 FA Patch on game uniforms

As the 1-7 FA troop was being deployed to Iraq, the KSU team once again returned to Fort Riley to see them off, wish them luck, and thank them for representing the country.  The infantry was to spend 12 months in Iraq.  While there, the basketball team made sure to send them care packages and copies of all of their games for the interested troops to watch.  In return, the troops would send recorded messages back to the team that was played before each game on the video board in Bramlage Coliseum.  The Wildcats Athletic Department has also designated one game a season as “Fort Riley Night” where troops and their families are invited to Bramlage at discounted prices to watch a basketball game.

Coach Martin and the rest of the Kansas State family hope that the relationship between the University and Fort Riley can continue into the future.  He told me he held this was a great thing for both parties to experience and beneficial to everyone.

Thanks to the Basketball Office for providing me with the following pictures.

K-State getting some instruction

Practicing for the simulation

Coaching Staff putting on their gear

The look in Frank Martin's eyes says it all

Dom Sutton getting into a tank

Coach Martin and Coach Underwood listen

Troops attend College Gameday and speak to Digger Phelps

Section full of troops at College Game Day

19 Responses to “Kansas State Basketball Honors the Military”

  1. randy miller says:

    great story—great to see schools support the military

  2. Teresa says:

    I was wondering all season what the patch was on K-State’s uniform and searched it tonight!! That is awesome and am proud of the team for their support!!

  3. Andy Cotter says:

    Not a bad story; just one thing, 1-7 FA is a Field Artillery Battalion. Not field infantry, which does not actually exist. Good story though

  4. Kevin Green says:

    While watching the BYU game I instantly notice the unit crest and as a former member of 1/7 Field Artillery I was honored to see K State acknowledge my unit and America’s heros. Hooah for K State.

  5. LTC Allen Patty says:

    I am honored to see the K-State team wear my cross cannons on their uniform, as I also have. As a member of the 7th Feild Artillery Regiment, you make me proud of the service I have given to this country. I will never forget my short experience at Fort Riley and cruizing around K-State.

    Oh, and Don is not getting into a tank, it is an M109A6 Self Propelled Howtzer.

    Thanks and good luck in the championship.

    Go Zags!

  6. Corey says:

    Thank you for your interest in this story and for the correction…

  7. Corey says:

    Thank you for reading this story and thank you for serving our country…Go KSU!

  8. Corey says:

    Thank you for your service to this country and checking out my website. Gonzaga has a tough road but have always respected that program.

  9. […] permalink Its a google ribbon “For the Kansas State Wildcats Men’s Basketball team, the patch on their game jersey chest is to honor the current and heroic 1-7 FA (Field Infantry) Division of the Fort Riley Military Base, just minutes from the Manhattan campus. The patch appears on all three colors of KSU’s jersey top and is proudly displayed every game.” Kansas State Basketball Honors the Military|Corey Brinn dot Com […]

  10. […] appears on all three colors of KSU’s jersey top and is proudly displayed every game." Kansas State Basketball Honors the Military|Corey Brinn dot Com Edit: I am actually impressed with Frank Martin after reading this […]

  11. Russell Brace says:

    What a great honor to have the K-State Basketball team wear the 1/7th FA unit crest on their jerseys. I served with the A Battery 1st Battalion 7th Field Artillery in Fort Riley, KS from 1977 – 1982 at that time we were know as the Alpha Rebels (for good reason). At that time our main weapon was M109A1 self propelled 177mm Howitzer. Funny how things change .. on weekends when we partied in Aggieville the students didn’t really like us GI’s chasing “their” women and drinking “their” beer. But all in all it was a pretty good relationship as my unit was always invited to band day during football season to fire our small 105mm towed cannons (blank rounds ..of course) Good luck to the 2010 Basketball team in the NCAA tourney!!!!!

  12. Rex says:

    It is so good to see that K-State displays the patch for the 1-7 FA Division, and thanks to all Troops for their sacrifice to keeping our country SAFE and FREE. GO CATS, lets go all the way now. You are an awesome group of players, and that was one hell of a game last night against Xavier, way to play your hearts out.


  13. I like this concept. I visited your site for the first time and simply been your supporter. Keep writing as I am gonna come to read it everyday!!

  14. Thomas Betly says:

    It represents the 7th Field Artillery Regiment. The 1-7 means 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery. The M109A1 was a 155mm SP Howitzer, the current version is the M109A6. I am a retired Redleg, rank LTC and I noticed the crest immediately. I am affliated with the 11th Artillery Regiment. 1-11 FA, 9th Infantry Division (Motorized) Fory Lewis, Washington. The 9th ID has been inactivated.

  15. clay earnest says:

    I am gonna pull for the wildcats…great story!

  16. Some very cool photos!

  17. Corey says:

    Thanks. I had great time doing the research and interviews for this piece.

  18. Zach says:

    My dad was the one the started this. In Kansas state he is in the pictures up there. It was very cool

  19. Corey says:

    Such a neat thing that is done out there. Please tell your dad thank you!

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