On Friday, the nation marks the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The day after, USC Athletics hosts its 14th annual Joint Forces Day, a celebration to honor America’s military heroes.
Coinciding with the second game of the Trojan football season, the celebration is a tangible way for USC to say “thank you for your service” to the nation’s men and women in uniform.
For this year’s celebration, USC Athletics offered 10,000 free seats for Saturday’s matchup against Idaho at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The tickets were distributed through Southland military bases, veterans’ organizations and veteran-centric USC departments. Two F-35 fighter jets from Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., will perform a pregame military flyover.
Joint Forces Day dovetails with USC’s third annual Wounded Warrior Weekend featuring 40 representatives from the Los Angeles Fire Department and their guests.
The day’s headliner will be USC Trustee Ed Roski Jr. ’62, a decorated Vietnam War veteran awarded the Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts. Roski is the season’s first USC Hero of the Game. Introduced in 2012, this program recognizes an active or retired service member at each home football game.
One of the few, the proud
As a USC student majoring in real estate and finance, Roski signed up for the U.S. Marine Corps PLC program. He went directly to officer training school after graduation in 1962. Part of the First Marine Brigade, Roski was deployed to Vietnam in 1965 as commanding officer of B Company Third Anti-Tanks. That summer, he was wounded in Chu Lai during Operation Starlite.
After the end of his military service in 1966, Roski joined his father’s Los Angeles real estate business. He currently serves as president and chairman of the board of Majestic Realty, the largest, privately held developer and owner of master-planned business parks in the United States.
In 2000, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation presented Roski with its Semper Fidelis Award. In 2007, he and two partners from Majestic Realty founded the Land of the Free Foundation to support Armed Services personnel and their families, past, present and future.
Also in 2007, Roski, who chaired USC’s board of trustees at the time, and then-Provost C. L. Max Nikias organized a gala saluting hundreds of Trojan student-veterans and ROTC cadets. The university’s relationship with ROTC dates back to 1940; it has commissioned 4,300 officers since that time. The military-style Veterans and ROTC Students Appreciation banquet has grown into an annual Trojan tradition that salutes each of USC’s men and women in uniform, including hundreds of faculty, staff and alumni.
In 2006, Roski gave a $23 million gift to name the USC Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts, now the USC Roski School of Art and Design.