ROSEMONT, Ill. - Army Reserve Col. Daniel Jaquint, accompanied with Sgt. Maribel Meraz, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command color guard team, participated in pre-game activities before the start of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball game between the Chicago Dogs and Cleburne Railroaders at Impact Field, July 28, 2019, in Rosemont, Illinois.
Jaquint, who serves in the 85th USARSC's G-3/Operations, threw a ceremonial first pitch to kick off the game.
"It was the first time. I've never done this before. I just wanted to make sure I didn't put it in the dirt," said Jaquint. "It was an honor to come out and represent the 85th (USARSC). It was a lot of fun."
Jaquint, is a veteran Soldier with two deployments across 29 years of service. He first deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Storm and mobilized for a second deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2012 where he served as Officer in Charge, Counter-IED and Senior Military Advisor to the Afghan National Police.
Chicago Dogs center fielder, David Olmedo-Barerra, was honored to share the field with the Army Reserve.
"I think it's a great opportunity to support our troops," said Olmedo-Barerra. "To be able to thank you for all of your service. We hope to pull out a win today."
Immediately following the first pitch, the 85th USARSC color guard took the field to present the Nation's colors.
"It's my first time as a color guard (NCOIC) at a game. Everybody was very welcoming to us," said Meraz, G-3/Operations. "There was a little girl who wanted to meet a female Soldier and she said she didn't think girls could be in the Army. I told her 'girls could do whatever boys can do if not better.'"
Meraz served on two overseas deployments across her 11 year service. Her first deployment in 2011 was to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. She deployed a second time to Qatar and Kuwait in 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Park Ridge resident Nikki Huber, who is in her second season with the Chicago Dogs as the in-field host/correspondent, said having an Army Reserve color guard at the baseball game provided a valuable lesson to younger fans.
"I absolutely loved it," said Huber. "Having the troops here is a positive. We had kids on the field during the (color) guard presentation. I teach the kids to respect the flag and place their hand on their heart."
Manager Butch Hobson was equally thrilled to have the Army Reserve participate in the pre-game activities. Hobson shared that one of his family members is serving in the military.
"I think it's awesome. I have a son who completed his first tour in Afghanistan with the Marines."
The Dogs beat the Railroaders with a final score of 7 to 6.