ACC Honors Members of Armed Forces at Football Championship Game

Local veterans to participate in God Bless America ceremony between third and fourth quarters

ORLANDO, FL – The Atlantic Coast Conference will honor America by recognizing the men and women of the Armed Forces during the 2016 ACC Dr Pepper Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. 

The ACC is once again inviting select service members and their guests to the game. The four invited families will have VIP access throughout game day, including pregame sideline access. In addition, the heroes will take part in a special recognition on the field in between the third and fourth quarters.  This presentation will be followed by the singing of God Bless America by Liberty Voices a cappella group, who will also be performing the national anthem prior to the game. 

Captain Robert Apodaca served 10 years in the Air Force during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and is the son of Major Victor Joe Apodaca, the first American Indian to graduate from the US Air Force Academy in 1961.  Major Vic Apodaca was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and declared a POW/MIA.  34 years later, Robert was able to bring his father’s remains home, and he was in the air escorting his dad back to the Air Force Academy on 9/11 when the attack on America began.

Specialist Jose Civile served five years in the Army as a Cavalry Scout with the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Squadron, 15th Cavalry Regiment.  He deployed to Iraq in 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for a period of 14 months where he conducted over 200 combat patrols.  

Retired Master Sergeant Shannon Swain spent over 20 years as an Army Special Forces Green Beret. He is a veteran of Desert Storm and completed three combat deployments in Afghanistan.  He is the recipient of three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.  He currently works for Florida Hospital in Medical Simulation and Training. 

Michael Waldrop is a former US Army Infantry Captain and a graduate of Clemson University. He commanded a rifle company in Southern Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007 and was awarded two Bronze Stars for Valor, and received the Purple Heart after being wounded storming an insurgent compound.  Professionally, he is the owner and founder of Orlando-based Blue Cord Design and Construction.  He and his wife Marnie founded a Central Florida non-profit, the Camaraderie Foundation, which assists military and veteran families in healing from the invisible wounds of war.  Michael is also Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Chairman of the City of Orlando’s Veterans Advisory Council.  

The ACC has recognized military members as a part of every ACC Football Championship Game. In addition, the ACC honors members of the Armed Forces at the ACC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, the ACC Baseball Championship and other ACC Championships every year. 

2016 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship: The 2016 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game will kick off at 8 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.  The game will be nationally televised on ABC and will feature the Atlantic Division Co-Champion, Clemson, against the Coastal Division Champion, Virginia Tech.  To purchase tickets, and for more information on the full weekend of ACC festivities, visit