25th ID Soldier leads Minnesota into football battle

| November 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

1st Lt. Trey Van Wyhe, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Reg., 3rd BCT, 25th ID, leads the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers out onto the field, Oct. 27. Minnesota went on to defeat Purdue, 44-28. (Photo courtesy 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

Lifelong University of Minnesota “Gopher” fan carries nation’s colors, leads team onto field for Big Ten football game

Sgt. Hillary Rustine
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS — In the locker room before the big game, Oct. 27, alongside football players from the University of Minnesota’s “Golden Gophers,” stood a man in a different sort of uniform: an Army Combat Uniform.

Followed by the thundering cheers of thousands of screaming fans, 1st Lt. Trey Van Wyhe, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, led the team out of the locker room, holding the American flag that he had sent to Head Coach Jerry Kill, as a gift, earlier this year.

Traditionally, when the Gophers take the field prior to a home game, their players lead the team out onto the field carrying an American flag, as well as a flag representing their university, but on this game day, the Golden Gophers shifted from normal protocol.

“This is about our country and representing our troops; it’s an opportunity to show why we get to play,” said Kill. “My father was in the service (Army), and it was always important to remember the sacrifices of our troops.”

The flag held by Van Wyhe, a Gopher fan and a native from Hills, Minn., had been flown in from Afghanistan where Van Wyhe was recently deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Van Wyhe had carried the flag with him as a good luck charm when he conducted air assault missions.

“I wanted to give the platoon flag to a civilian organization where they wouldn’t normally receive anything military oriented. It was really good to see that someone was proud to have something of ours to inspire them,” said Van Wyhe.

Upon receiving the gift, Coach Kill told Van Wyhe, via email, that if he was ever in town for a football game, he would be honored to have him lead the Gophers onto the field.

“We wouldn’t have an opportunity to go see a football game if it wasn’t for our troops. If I could have someone in the military to run the flag on the field every weekend, I would,” said Kill.

This particular game wasn’t set aside as a military appreciation game, but for a Gopher fan reaching out from his time in Afghanistan it was an offer of inspiration through a memento of bravery.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *