For Soldiers in Training with Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment who graduate today, they never thought Basic Combat Training would involve holding a large American flag during the Columbia Fireflies' opening day festivities.
Fort Jackson provided the 282nd Army Band, an honor guard, and a group of Soldiers to hold the flag during opening ceremonies for the Class A affiliate of Major League Baseball's New York Mets.
"We provided personnel to hold the flag with the color guard," said 1st Lt. Ronnel Baris, the company's executive officer. "The privates enjoyed providing the support or help for the community. They were really surprised and happy."
Baris said it is "amazing and encouraging to help build" the relationships between Fort Jackson and the surrounding communities.
The installation has a special relationship with people of the Midlands and helps promote unity by supporting various relationship building activities, said Jennifer Stride, the post's community relations officer.
"It's a privilege to be out there with the drill sergeants carrying in the flag," said Pfc. Jed Fackrell, who will be going to Advanced Individual Training to become a 13B cannon crewmember following graduation.
To hold the flag was "an honor," he said. "Back on base I am on a detail to raise and lower the flag and it comes with a lot of pride."
The St. George, Utah native found watching the baseball game an "awesome" way to cap off his time at BCT.
"I wouldn't have expected this going in to basic training, but being able to sit here and watch Tim Tebow play is pretty cool."
Fackrell joked it would be interesting if Tebow hit a homerun to him. In his first at bat, Tebow hit a two-run shot that hit a few feet in front of Soldiers before bouncing back into the field of play.