It was an atmosphere of patriotism and celebration on campus Saturday as the University of Oklahoma honored military personnel for their service, bravery and sacrifice before and during OU’s home football game against Iowa State.
One of the highlights for OU Extended Campus was honoring two OU graduates, Major General Tracy W. King and his son, Capt. Chase King, as Patriots of the Game. Maj. Gen. King is a 1988 OU Naval ROTC scholarship graduate, and Capt. King is a 2015 OU Naval ROTC scholarship graduate.
Raised in south Oklahoma City, the general grew up surrounded by a large family of Sooner fans. When he found out he and his son had been chosen as OU Extended Campus Patriots of the Game, he was both shocked and humbled.
“I’m a longtime Sooner fan who is surrounded by rabid Sooner fans,” he said. “You should see my wife watch a game.
“The thought of my son and I standing in for the over one million folks we have in uniform, 250,000 of them currently forward deployed in over 150 countries, is truly humbling. I’m an Oklahoma son and have carried that fact with pride for over 30 years wearing the cloth of a U.S. Marine.” - Maj. Gen. Tracy W. King
Receiving the honor (which included a standing ovation from a packed stadium) was made even more meaningful as it came two days before Veterans Day and on a day that included Military Appreciation Day events across campus.
“It makes me proud,” he said. “The thought of my son and I standing in for the over one million folks we have in uniform, 250,000 of them currently forward deployed in over 150 countries, is truly humbling. I’m an Oklahoma son and have carried that fact with pride for over 30 years wearing the cloth of a U.S. Marine.”
The general’s wife, Ann, also attended the festivities, along with his nephew, Shane King, his sister, Rachel Clapp, his lifelong friend, Kent Whitnah, Shelly Ayers, Michael Simpson and host of other friends. His daughter, Sydney, an OU graduate and elementary school teacher, was unable to attend.
The general currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he serves as director for expeditionary warfare with the Chief of Naval Operations staff (OPNAV N95). He provides oversight for the Chief of Naval Operations on areas pertaining to amphibious shipping, mine warfare, naval fire support and other missions essential to expeditionary warfare. Previously, he served as a deputy director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he was the lead for Asia.
He has served in all three Marine Expeditionary Forces and with all four elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. His tours of duty include the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California; the Marine Forces Reserve in New Orleans, Louisiana; Marine Corps University, where he served as director of the School of Advanced Warfighting; joint duty with the Institute for Defense Analyses; and as the Chief of Staff, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
His military experiences include patrolling and base defense with Marine Barracks Paris Island; humanitarian and relief operations in the Federated States of Micronesia; urban warfare; various planning billets during Operation Iraqi Freedom; compartmentalized planning with United States Special Operations Command; service level planning to develop the Marine Corps’ Sexual Assault and Prevention Response Campaign plan; and a Red Team analysis on the Sept. 13 attack on Bastion-Leatherneck.
He is a graduate of Summer/Winter Mountain Leaders, Amphibious Warfare School, Naval Command and Staff, the School of Advanced Warfighting, and the National War College. He holds a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies and a Master of Science in National Policy.
Despite his successful military track record, King said his greatest achievement in life is raising his two kids.
While the general has an impressive military career, his son seems to be following in his footsteps.
Chase King was born in Okinawa, Japan, and raised in Quantico, Virginia. Upon graduation from high school in 2011, he joined the NROTC unit at OU. He was commissioned a second lieutenant with a degree in International Security Studies in May 2015.
Following the Basic School and Logistics Officer Course, he was assigned to 9th Engineer Support Battalion as the Motor Transport Platoon Commander. During this period, he deployed twice to the Republic of South Korea where he participated in Winter Work Horse 16 and Korean Marine Exchange Program 17-8.
In March 2018, he executed orders to 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion in Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as the Logistics Support Team Officer in Charge for a Marine Special Operations Company. In spring 2019, he deployed in support of Operation Pacific Eagle and served as a Special Operations Task Force S4 Officer.
He currently serves as the Executive Officer of Logistics Company at 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion.
The Patriot of the Game ceremony was just one of many activities taking place on campus Saturday for Military Appreciation Day. Other events included a display of large-scale military equipment; an appearance by the Golden Knights, the official U.S. Army Parachute Team which delivered the game ball; a large American flag held by members of the OU ROTC, veterans, student veterans and military personnel during the National Anthem; a performance by the 145th Army Band alongside the Pride of Oklahoma during halftime; and a number of in-game recognitions of veterans, including the most recent Medal of Honor recipient, Master Sgt. Matt Williams.
OU Extended Campus has a long history of meeting the educational needs of military-affiliated students by providing onsite and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs for servicemembers, veterans and their dependents. OU Extended Campus began sponsoring Patriot of the Game during the 2019 football season to further its commitment to this mission.
To nominate your military hero for Patriot of the Game, visit the Patriot of the Game website, patriot.pacs.ou.edu.