By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
SEATTLE — More than 100 Northwest Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Coastguardsmen and veterans participated in the Seattle Mariners’ and The Boeing Company’s 14th Annual Salute to Armed Forces at Safeco Field, April 19.
The Mariners pay tribute to the men and women who serve in the armed forces each year in April. The game features service members representing every military branch and they participate in a special pregame ceremony.
Submarine Group 9 Sailors were on the diamond beside the Texas Rangers while Navy Band Northwest performed at the National Anthem. Navy Counselor 1st Class Sara Dozier, Submarine Pacific Sailor of the Year from Las Vegas, was one of five service members to throw a ceremonial first pitch.
“It’s quite an honor to represent the Navy for the first pitch,” said Dozier. “I hope I brought my strong arm.”
Pacific Northwest service members participate in these tributes to engage the surrounding community at every opportunity afforded.
“Baseball is as American as it gets,” said Gunnery Sgt. Marcuss Hernandez, from Woodland, California and stationed with Marine Corps Security Force Battalion – Bangor. “Being here in the stadium and talking to the patrons reminds my junior Marines of why they joined and who they’re protecting.”
The Seattle Mariners are proud to continue the annual tradition for nearly 15 years, according to staff.
“This event is a small gesture of thanks for the sacrifices that the men and women of the military make for our nation,” said Elizabeth McCloskey, who coordinated the event. “On this day we recognize those who serve today, and the many men and women who have given their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.”
Other events included a joint color guard presenting the Colors, Army Specialist Raymond Deleon performing “Taps,” Air Force Staff Sgt. Ben Taylor performed “God Bless America” at the 7th Inning stretch and plaque presented to high-ranking officials representing the five armed services and Washington National Guard.
“It’s an honor to be so appreciated in a city where the community and professional sports teams are so supportive toward the military,” said Capt. Bill Bulis, Navy Region Northwest Chief of Staff from Long Island, New York. “My family and I are new to the area and have enjoyed a warm welcome in the community.”