On a sweltering day, spectators who gathered at CEFCU Stadium for a San Jose State football game heard over the loudspeakers, “Please stand for the national anthem, veterans
Master Chief Radioman Frank Broz made the effort to give war veterans who served for their country the chance to be recognized at one of America’s favorite pastimes.
“For the last six years, I’ve been asking for the announcer at football games to say that veterans may salute with a military salute,” Broz said.
Broz, an SJSU football season ticket holder, educator and United States veteran, started serving his country on Feb. 4,1952.
He signed up during the police action against North Korea, which later became the Korean War. Broz served on board the USS Polk County for 32 months as a radioman.
The responsibilities of a Navy radioman are to transmit and receive radio signals through various transmission media aboard ships, aircrafts and shore facilities.
Broz attended what was then-San Jose State College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social studies with a minor in education in 1963. Broz returned to SJSU to teach copy editing in 2001.
Broz worked his way up the ranks to command master chief radioman, receiving ribbons for his service during the Korean War with three Bronze Stars, Armed Forces Reserve with Gold Hourglass, Presidential Unit Citation and more.
According to history.com, by the end of the Korean War, almost 40,000 Americans had died in action with
“It’s all wrapped around personal pride in my country,” Broz said about the national anthem. “When you’re in there, you’re in with a shared experience in supporting the United States and protecting its people from, in my case, communist aggression."
In 2009, a new law went into effect by the Department of Defense to allow veterans to use the military-style hand salute out of uniform and without the organizations’ official headgear.
Determined, Broz set out to give veterans recognition by reaching out to SJSU administration and SJSU Athletics Director Marie Tuite, who liked the idea and implemented the announcement before every sporting event on campus.
“I was saluting and the little pocket of alumni who were with me and all the men who were veterans were saluting with me because I did,” Broz said. “My eyes began to dampen up for some unknown reason, I was so proud.”
In an email to the Spartan Daily, Lawrence Fan, SJSU athletics media relations director, confirmed Broz informed the athletics department about the procedures.
Broz reached out to Timothy White, California State University chancellor, and received a letter from White that stated, “The example you shared of your alma mater, SJSU, is a model for other colleges and universities across the United States. I hope more CSU campuses look to SJSU’s example as a way to salute and thank our veterans.”
Broz’s daughter, SJSU alumna and educator Debra Caires, reflected on the effort her father put into getting this recognition, which meant something more to people who were not veterans.
“I gave up so much, my mom gave up so much, other wives have given up so much, and then you got women who serve so their husbands are giving up a lot,” Caires said. “To ask to stand and honor them, that’s a small thing, how long is that going to take? Not even a minute.”
Communication junior Josh Rocklage was in boot camp for the U.S. Marine Corps for nine months after graduating high school in March 2003.
“I feel that the true nature of the freedom we enjoy, the freedom that veterans fought back when this country fought in wars that meant something, is the freedom to choose,” Rocklage said. “Perhaps there will be schools following in SJSU['s] lead, perhaps there won’t. I have a feeling the reaction will be mixed though.”
Caires has witnessed and appreciated the community that has been made for the veteran students who attend the university.
“What I love about the community that we’re creating here for veterans is it gives them a place to still be connected with other people that know exactly what they’re going through without them having to talk about it,” Caires said.
According to the CSU Troops to College, 87 percent of campuses have a Veteran Success Center and all 23 campuses hold veterans events.
The actions of Broz gives them a chance to receive recognition from school administration, families, students and sports patrons.
“There’s a kind of comradery when you go to a sporting event. It’s not like any other thing,” Caires said.