By David Poe, Fort Bliss Garrison Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, Jan. 4, 2018)
El Paso closed the Sun Bowl season in fine fashion when North Carolina State University defeated Arizona State University, 52-31, at the 84th annual Sun Bowl in El Paso Dec. 29, 2017. NC State running backs Nyheim Hines and Reggie Gallaspy II and quarterback Ryan Finley combined for six touchdowns in the win.
Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division participated in the pregame ceremonies with troops from 1st Brigade Combat Team presenting the colors and Col. Lee Magee, the 3rd BCT, 1st AD commander, overseeing the coin flip in front of almost 40,000 fans and a national television audience.
This was the sixth time Arizona State had played in the Sun Bowl, but the first time for North Carolina State, according to Sun Bowl records. Arizona State has a Sun Bowl record of two losses, three wins and one tie (0-0 on New Year’s Day against Catholic University in 1940).
Fort Bliss troops were also invited to be a part of the Sun Bowl festivities by leading the annual Sun Bowl Thanksgiving Day parade late last year, as well as being invited to be a part of many community events throughout the year.
In addition to the active-duty military involvement, the Sun Bowl committee welcomed 100 local military veterans to unfurl and present a 5,000 square feet American flag during the national anthem before the game. Up-and-coming country music star Frank Ray, from Las Cruces, N.M., sang the national anthem at this year’s game and also performed during halftime.
Two days before the game, players from both teams visited Fort Bliss and not only met with Soldiers, but learned about military equipment and received instruction on weapons and military simulator systems. For more on that event, see page 7B.