SA Rampage to host Military Appreciation Night
Former Vietnam War POW to attend Friday-night game
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Rampage will pay tribute to service members Friday during Military Appreciation Night at the AT&T Center.
"You're watching professional hockey. Yes, it's not NHL, but it's still professional hockey. High skill level, and you're watching it in a big-league arena," said retired Air Force Col. Joe Milligan, a 14-year season ticket holder.
The event is also an opportunity to learn more about war heroes such as Milligan, who spent 24 1/2 years in the Air Force.
Milligan flew an F-4 fighter jet, and while serving in Vietnam, he was shot down and captured by North Vietnamese forces in 1967.
He spent six years in the "Hanoi Hilton," a prison in North Vietnam for U.S. prisoners of war.
Milligan vividly remembers the day when he was released and put on a C-141 to head home with other POWs.
"Got on the airplane and sat down, not a whole lot being said. The airplane started up and taxied out and (was) rolling down the runway. The moment the wheels lifted off we just all broke out in a big cheer," Milligan said.
Milligan has earned plenty of war medals, including a Purple Heart and a Silver Star.
Even with all Milligan has done for his country, he is still humble about the recognition he and others receive during Military Appreciation Night.
"It's a little strange, I guess. I mean, I appreciate it. I really do, but I think if you talk to just about anybody in the military, they would say, 'We're not special; we're just Americans,'" Milligan said.
One thing that Milligan is really proud of is the fact that his city and his country always remember the military -- even those captured and held for years in a prison camp.
"One of the things that, frankly, kept us going was the knowledge that our country doesn't forget about their military. We don't leave people behind," Milligan said.
Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.