Fort Worth, Texas — Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 “to honor an individual and/or a group with a military background and/or involvement that have an impact within the realm of college football.”
With the 2022 recipient being announced Thursday, November 11, 2022, nominations for the 2022 Armed Forces Merit Award will be accepted through October 1 when a selection committee of seven FWAA members and two representatives from the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will review the list of candidates for the 11th annual presentation.
“We are pleased to join with the Football Writers Association of America to honor an individual with a military background or group that works with our armed services that has an impact within college football,” said Brant Ringler, the executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
FWAA executive director Steve Richardson echoed Ringler’s sentiments along with adding that “we have an outstanding list of candidates each year and it is difficult to honor only one recipient when there are several individuals and programs that are very deserving of the honor.”
With 31 nominations (28 individuals and three programs) considered for the 2021 award, University of Nebraska linebacker Damien Jackson was selected as the 10th recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award. A Cornhusker walk-on in 2007 after serving four years in the military as a member of the Navy SEALs, Jackson was placed on scholarship for the 2020 season and has played in the 20 games for Nebraska.
Jackson Has made the Big 10 All-Academic team that last four seasons. Before his military service, Jackson played baseball and soccer at Shadow Ridge High in Las Vegas, Nev. A child, youth and family studies major, Jackson earned his degree in December of 2021. He has volunteered his time with the Nebraska Football Road Race, a Day of Service and local hospital visits.
Past recipients of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA include Nate Boyer of the University of Texas (2012), Brandon McCoy of the University of North Texas (2013), Daniel Rodriguez from Clemson University (2014), Bret Robertson of Westminster College (Fulton, Mo., 2015), Steven Rhodes from Middle Tennessee State University (2016), Dr. Chris Howard from Robert Morris University (2018), Army West Point assistant coach Mike Viti (2019) and Collin O’Donnell of Bluefield College of Virginia.
Kansas State and its football team were honored in November 2017 as the sixth recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award for the university’s partnership with the United States Army that created a bond between the school’s athletic department and the Iron Rangers at Fort Riley.
Nominations for the 2022 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA should be submitted to Tim Simmons (firstname.lastname@example.org, 303/678-8484), the award’s coordinator, by October 1. The nomination link can be found at https://www.armedforcesbowl.com/armed-forces#meritaward-section.
- Athletes Of Valor, Alex Stone, Founder & CEO, Athletes of Valor (U. S. Marines)
- Battlefields To Ballfields, Mike Pereira, CEO/President/Director
- Bronze Boot Run – Laramie to Fort Collins prior to the Wyoming at Colorado State football game
- National Association of College Directors of Athletics, Wounded Warrior Project
- Thomas University Military Transition Initiative
- Georgia Military College, Milledgeville, Ga.
- New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, N.M.
Active Players (1)
- Kyran Griffin-Isom, Troy University, WR, 6-3, 169, Jun., New Orleans, La. (U. S. Marines)
Football Coaching Staff (19)
- Troy Calhoun, Head Coach, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Jake Campbell, Assistant Backfield, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- C.B. Cornett, Volunteer Coach-Linebackers, Georgia Military College (U. S. Marines Corps)
- Robert Green, Cornerbacks & Director of Racial Equality, United States Naval Academy (U. S. Marine Corps)
- Charlie Jackson, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Brian Knorr, Inside Linebackers, U. S. Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Ken Lamendola, Inside Linebackers, U. S. Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Steed Lobotzke, Offensive Line, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Curtis Luper, Running Backs, Missouri (U. S. Army)
- Alex Means, Outside Linebackers, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Ben Miller, Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach, Illinois (U. S. Air Force)
- Blane Morgan, Head Coach, Lamar University (U. S. Air Force)
- Andre Morris, Spurs, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- John Rudzinski, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs, Virginia (U. S. Air Force)
- Brett Skene, Offensive Assistant, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Trent Steelman, Quarterbacks, Eastern Kentucky University (U. S. Army)
- Mike Thiessen, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Charlton Warren, Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs, North Carolina (U. S. Air Force)
- Mick Yokitis, Wide Receivers, United States Naval Academy (U. S. Navy)
Football Support Staff (9)
- Clayton Kendrick-Holmes, Chief of Staff/Football Operations, United States Military Academy (U. S. Navy)
- Chris Lehmann, Colorado & Colorado State Football, Wyoming Air National Guard
- LTC John Nawoichyk, Assistant AD/Military Operations, United States Military Academy (U. S. Army)
- Omar Nelson, Director of Player Development, United States Naval Academy (U. S. Navy)
- CPT Blake Powers, Admission Support, United States Military Academy (U. S. Army)
- Trey Reed, Assistant Athletic Director, Athletic Communications, Midwestern State (U. S. Army)
- Steve Senn, Director of Recruiting, United States Air Force Academy (U. S. Air Force)
- Jordon Simmons, Assistant Head Coach – Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Colorado State (U. S. Army)
- Rusty Whitt, Football Strength & Conditioning Coach, Troy (U. S. Army)
University Leadership (3)
- Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of Troy (U. S. Marine Corps)
- im Knowlton, Director of Athletics, California (U. S. Army)
- Natesh Rao, Senior Associate Athletic Director, Arizona State (U. S. Navy)