New award connects Pack with Navy history

Nevada football team uses the ‘Turnover Trident’ to reward play on the field and to learn the history of the USS Nevada

Nevada football coach Ken Wilson, left, and Naval Air Warfighting Development Center commander Rear Admiral Max McCoy talk about the Navy’s role in the desert.

Nevada football coach Ken Wilson, left, and Naval Air Warfighting Development Center commander Rear Admiral Max McCoy talk about the Navy’s role in the desert.

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF
Not only will the University of Nevada’s football players have a symbol to indicate their defensive prowess on the field, but they are also learning the history of one of the greatest battleships to sail during World War II.

Poseidon’s trident, pictured with a tribute to the USS Nevada (BB-36), was recently revealed at the Naval Air Warfighting Development Center east of Fallon by the creator of the design, John Galloway, university President Brian Sandoval and Rear Admiral Max McCoy, NAWDC’s commander.

Six players from this year’s Wolf Pack team — Tyson Williams, Devonte Lee, Toa Taua, Grant Stark, Dom Peterson and Shane Illingworth — also traveled to Fallon to be part of the ceremony.

Galloway, director of the Battleship USS Nevada Remembrance Project, has nurtured a 
love for the battleship, one of the survivors of the surprise Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. In keeping with the history of both the battleship and World War II, Nevada football fans will first see the trident on Saturday, the near-anniversary of the day the Japanese formally surrendered to end World War II in the Pacific (Sept. 2, 1945).

Knowing more about the Nevada’s missions during World War II and its meaning to the state’s heritage has been a passion of Galloway’s for many years. He has recognized those who served on the battleship as well as the ship’s place in naval history as part of his Battleship Nevada Remembrance Project. He also written about the project.

“I’ve done a lot with the USS Nevada,” Galloway said with the backdrop of the NAWDC building behind him.

Charles Sehe was the longest-serving sailor on the Nevada (Jan. 18, 1941 to July 31, 1945). Galloway sponsored the return of Sehe to Nevada in 2016 for the 100th 
anniversary of the ship’s completion and commissioning.

In addition to designing the trident, Galloway has also sponsored a license plate, which was approved by the legislature, in honor of the battleship. Proceeds from the sale of the license plate benefit the Combat Wounded Coalition.

“It’s a great way to honor Nevada, the namesake school,” he added. “It’s a ship people know very little about.”

The USS Nevada earned seven battle stars: Pearl Harbor in 1941; Attu in the Aleutian Islands, May 11-30, 1943; Utah Beach (Normandy) on June 6, 1944; Cote d’Azur France (Operation Dragoon), Aug. 15, 1944; and two stars in capturing Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945.

The symbolic trident prop will recognize takeaways for the Nevada defense (recovering fumbles, intercepting passes or recording a safety). Galloway presented the idea to the university.

“They loved it,” he grinned. “It’s a great way to honor the greatest ship in the Navy.”
Galloway, a civilian pilot who moved to Nevada 20 years ago, had two tridents made in case one became damaged.

Yeoman second class Clayton Kent, who is stationed at NAS Fallon, accompanied the visitors on their short tour.

“We are respecting the heritage of the USS Nevada battleship, and respecting that with the heritage of the University of Nevada, Reno,” he said of the tour and presentation. 
“Every time the team gets a turnover, they will be using the trident as a representation.”
Kent said it’s a great idea that respects the state’s origin and the history of the community.

“It’s a neat idea to begin a new tradition,” he said, adding newcomers would learn a piece of history associated with the state.

Sandoval, who attended elementary school in Fallon when his father was transferred to Nevada with the Federal Aviation Administration, said the history of the USS Nevada is a story everyone should know. During his eight-year tenure as governor, Sandoval learned much about military operations and the history of the Navy’s Nevada ties.

“It’s an incredible moment, and it’s really important to teach these young student-athletes the history of Fallon and the USS Nevada and to bring it all together,” Sandoval said. “And to have this trident, which will tell the team what it’s all about.”

Steve Ranson / Nevada News Group
John Galloway, director of the Battleship USS Nevada Remembrance Project, holds a trident behind University of Nevada President Brian Sandoval, left, and Naval Air Warfighting Development Center commander Rear Admiral Max McCoy. Their prop is an F-18 Hornet with the name of Tom Cruise’s character for the Top Gun movies.

First-year Nevada football coach Ken Wilson joined his players in awe of the operations at Naval Air Station Fallon. The group saw F-16s and an F-18 with the name of Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the main character of the two Top Gun movies, emblazoned underneath the canopy. That provided the perfect backdrop for unveiling the trident.

“Just looking at their faces … they’re so excited looking at the airplanes and seeing these gentlemen talk about leadership and sports. They are competitors,” Wilson said of the Navy pilots who spend countless hours refining their combat skills.

Dom Peterson, a standout defensive end for the Wolf Pack, said the experience was meaningful for him.

“I’ve caught up with a little of the behind-the-scenes action that goes on here. I’m honored what goes on here,” he said. “We came out here to learn something different.”
Wilson, though, said many of the pilots might have played football at their respective universities and experienced the intensity of a football game, like Peterson and his teammates.

“It all comes together,” added Wilson, who then revealed the two Top Gun movies as his favorites.

Top Gun: Maverick debuted in the spring. The sequel to 1986’s Top Gun portrayed the warfighting skills of aviators associated with the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, which fits under the umbrella of the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center.

McCoy, who came has been in his command for a year, enjoyed the opportunity to showcase the Navy.

“Today has been an absolutely fantastic opportunity to build the relationship between NAS Fallon and NAWDC and the University of Nevada,” McCoy said. “I look forward to continuing this relationship and opportunities to work together.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment