A portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and Pentagon Soldiers traded their ACU's and covers for Bryce Harper jerseys and Curly W hats June 12 during Army Appreciation Night at National Park.
The Army kicked off its birthday week in grand style as the hometown Washington Nationals celebrated and honored the oldest military branch. Privates to the acting secretary of the Army and multiple elements of 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) took part in pregame activities spotlighting the Army before the Nationals played the Atlanta Braves.
Old Guard Soldiers from its first and fourth battalions marched to the right and left field foul lines to stand at attention for the National Anthem. The anthem was sung by The U.S. Army Chorus, and the singers were accompanied by The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps' Sgt. 1st Class Jeb Hague and Staff Sgts. Ryan Mullins and Andrew Owen.
"Anytime that the Army can send any element out and represent and be able to communicate with the public is a great day," said the Old Guard Fife and Drum musician Hague. "We do so many things on Fort Myer and different military installations, but anytime we can get out to the public and show them what the Army is made out of, it is a great day."
An extra visual feature was provided by Military District of Washington's Continental Color Guard. While presenting the colors, the group wore World War I-era uniforms in honor of the 100th anniversary of America's entering the Great War.
As game time approached and starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg warmed up the Nationals' bullpen, acting Secretary of the Army Robert M. Speer did his own warming up and then took the mound for the ceremonial first pitch. There were no nerves present when the acting secretary threw to home plate.
"This is a very proud moment," Speer said. "It is great to see and talk with the Soldiers. We have some right here and they just make me grin from ear to ear."
Five hundred feet from home plate in the center field terrace area, The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) jazz group, Swamp Romp entertained the first fans through the centerfield gates.
Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4 (Army Logistics) delivered the Nats' lineup card to home plate. Children of U.S. Army service members from the Pentagon participated in the starting lineup tunnel to welcome the Nationals to the field.
The Nationals eventually lost to the Braves 11-10.