ESPN's 'GameDay' held on USS San Diego to honor military

Event part of ESPN's five-day initiative

SAN DIEGO - ESPN hosted its nationally-televised college football show "College GameDay" from the flight deck of the USS San Diego on Saturday.

The network brought their show aboard the USS San Diego to celebrate and honor the men and women of the Armed Forces just in time for Veterans Day weekend.

Tom Rinaldi, who is with ESPN, said it was their chance to showcase the heroes of our country.

"You can't describe what it's like to be toured around the ship, to meet the men and women who do this… It's fantastic," he said.

The event is part of ESPN's fourth annual "America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans." The five-day initiative, which runs from Nov. 7 through Nov. 11, will honor veterans and troops in programming across ESPN's U.S. media platforms.

The network began loading cameras, sets, lights and stringing cables on Wednesday for Saturday's broadcast.

"I know my parents, my brother, who is a huge ESPN fan, will be watching; it's a great way to showcase our ship," said John Haywood, a sailor on the USS San Diego.

Servicemen and women from the Naval Base San Diego and nearby Camp Pendleton along with their families made up the live audience at "GameDay."

President Barack Obama even recorded a special greeting for the sailors and Marines.

Curtis Sharp, who played for the Naval Academy, said this was a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Marine Sergio Escalante said this was a great way to give the public a behind-the-scenes look at what the military does day in and day out.

"A lot of the public doesn't really get to see how we work and the things we do during our working hours, so it's good for the community to see what we take care of," he said.

The Marines who will likely be stationed aboard the USS San Diego also celebrated the Marine Corps birthday on Saturday, finishing the festivities with some cake.

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