"Living Statue" display ay Military Appreciation Night
ABERDEEN, Md. - “Living Statues” displays through the front gates of Ripken Stadium, July 1, 2022, during Military Appreciation Night. The displays showed patrons what both Soldiers and civilians wore and did for work during various time periods in APG's 105-year history, and included signs explaining the models, their props and APG's history. (Photo Credit: Sean Kief, CECOM Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN, Md. – The Aberdeen IronBirds, a Baltimore Orioles farm team, hosted its annual Military Appreciation Night at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium July 1, 2022. Aberdeen Proving Ground and other military organizations set up interactive booths with goodies, demonstrations and technology to show off military readiness.

Before the minor league game against the Winston-Salem Dash, patrons were encouraged to learn about the military and meet APG personnel. Parked in front of the stadium were four military vehicles for patrons to take pictures with and explore.

Through the front gates were four stages of APG history for attendees to see. There were eight “living statues” with models from four different major time periods of U.S. Army and APG history to show what Soldiers and civilians wore and did for work.

Statue volunteer Morgan Monts said she had fun “trying not to break character” as kids came up to look at her display.

Tables like that of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, or DEVCOM, displayed modern technology, such as drones and gas masks for patrons to check out.

DEVCOM table at Ripken Stadium.
ABERDEEN, Md. —Patrons at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command table admire drones and other modern technology at the IronBirds’ annual Military Appreciation Night at Ripken Stadium July 1, 2022. (Photo Credit: Megan Clark, APG News) VIEW ORIGINAL

The APG Army Substance Abuse Program team brought drunk goggles for patrons to wear while playing a game to show how dangerous and difficult drunk driving is. The team was able to answer questions that players had and explain the dangers.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense brought interactive test dummies to show how Soldiers are trained. A passerby exclaimed “I thought that was real!” when they saw a dummy moving on a stretcher.

Baldwin the Eagle, APG’s infamous mascot, made his rounds to each table to take pictures with families from all over Harford County.

Down on the field, Maj. Gen. Robert Edmonson II, APG senior commander and commanding general of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command; Mary Jane Jernigan, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army in Maryland; and Baltimore Orioles legend, Cal Ripken Jr., gathered to introduce the night’s special events.

Jernigan presented CASA coins to Christina Ju, junior cybersecurity engineer for the U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command; Erica Bertoli, outreach lead for DEVCOM; and Steven Starbuck, environmental engineer for the U.S. Army Public Health Center, for their remarkable achievements in supporting the Army and Army civilians.

Edmonson recognized the “special members” of the military family in the stadium. He thanked Gold Star Family members, Vietnam veterans and all other veterans and service members. Additionally he shouted out Team APG for their efforts.

“I invite you to recognize all of our APG Soldiers, civilians and their families who continue to prove every day why we are the best installation in our U.S. Army,” Edmonson said. “It’s because of you, everyone here today… that we are able to prove just how extraordinary our installation truly is.”

After trading jerseys, Edmonson threw the first pitch to Ripken to kick-off the start of the game.

Local veterans, reservists and active duty Soldiers unfurled a 40-yard flag while Staff Sgt. Javon Griffith, of APHC, sang the National Anthem.

Baldwin the Eagle fought head-to-head against IronBirds mascots Ripcord and Ferrous in an Army Combat Fitness Test challenge between innings. The physical assessment ensures Soldiers are ready, trained, disciplined and fit to win in multi-domain operations.

Battle of the Birds
ABERDEEN, Md. —APG’s infamous mascot Baldwin the Eagle partakes in the “Battle of the Birds” competition on the field while the crowd cheers him on at the Aberdeen IronBirds’ annual Military Appreciation Night at Ripken Stadium July 1, 2022. (Photo Credit: Quentin Johnson, APG Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

APG Garrison commander Col. Johnny Casiano, MRICD commander Col. Robin Neumeier and APHC director Col. Alisa Wilma helped the birds test their strength, fortitude, dexterity and endurance for all to enjoy. Baldwin the Eagle proved to be the strongest of them all, and earned himself a standing ovation from the crowd.

The final activity of the evening was recognizing APG’s Hometown Heroes. Soldier of the Year Spc. Effah Yeboah and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Sgt. Terrell Creach waved to the crowded stadium and proudly represented APHC.

Unfortunately, the IronBirds lost the game 9-1 but Ripken Stadium still celebrated the successful evening with an exciting fireworks display.