As Major League Baseball’s best took the field at Dodger Stadium July 19, 2022, they were welcomed by the Nation’s colors presented by a Joint Armed Forces Color Guard from the National Capital Region.
Greeted by the cheers and applause of over 40,000 fans, the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard proudly presented the Nation’s colors as Grammy, Emmy, and Tony award-winning performing artist Ben Platt sang the national anthem.
The performance of the anthem was a moving experience for the service members.
“My favorite part of this type of mission will always be listening to our beautiful national anthem,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Jose Ortiz. “It gives me goosebumps every single time, especially when I’m in front of 40,000 people…I love it!”
As the service members prepared to take the field, they carried the colors through Dodger Stadium, capturing the gaze and attention of fans from across the country. They were greeted by applause, gratitude, and a few selfie seekers. On the field, the appreciation only grew.
“The roar of the crowd and the energy of the people was electric,” said U.S. Army Spc. Nicholas Cook.
For the service members who took the field, it was an honor to be selected to participate.
“When it all finally sank in, I was overjoyed with the thought of being lucky enough to get selected for the game,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Hunter Stewart.
The mission, in front of a national audience, was an opportunity to showcase the ceremonial excellence and joint interoperability of the service honor guards. The personnel understood the weight and importance of the mission as they presented the colors.
“I was excited, nervous and felt really honored to be able to hold the Army colors with so much history at an event of this magnitude.” Cook said.
For some members of the team, the experience was the fulfillment of childhood dreams.
“Presenting the colors is something that I can’t easily describe,” said Stewart. “When I was a kid, I always had dreams of being on the same All-Star field as my childhood idols Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols. While it may have been a different uniform than I dreamt, I was beyond star struck that I was standing on second base even 100 feet from Pujols.”
Much like the members of the All-Star teams, the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard’s performance was the culmination of training and preparation. Arriving hours ahead of the first pitch, the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard rehearsed and prepared for the pre-game ceremonies at Dodger Stadium, adjusting their movements and adapting to circumstances on the field. The team, committed to excellence, rehearsed until their performance was refined, polished, and ready for primetime.
For 92 years now, the Midsummer Classic has brought together the brightest stars and biggest bats from across Major League Baseball. Drawn from all 30 Major League teams, the players on each All-Star team come together and form a new team with players they watch and admire all year, but do not get the chance to play alongside. Much like the All-Stars themselves, the members of the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, drawn from each service branch, come together and form a cohesive team, ready to execute their mission at the highest-level and on the biggest stage.
The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard represents a blend of our Nation’s armed forces, bringing together ceremonial elements from each branch including the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force. Drawn from ceremonial units from each military branch’s honor guard units in the National Capital Region, the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard supporting this mission was comprised of ten service members including six flag-bearers, two rifles, and two drummers from The United States Army Field Band. Each member of a joint color guard carries their respective service color (military-branch flag) with attached campaign streamers. The color guard’s flank men carry M14 rifles. The drummers accompany the colors and keep the colors in step. The Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen provide ceremonial support for a variety of events throughout the National Capital Region. The U.S Army Military District of Washington coordinated the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard for this mission on behalf of the Department of Defense.
The service members of the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard are from U.S. Marine Corps Ceremonial and Guard Company, Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.; U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, Navy District Washington, Washington, D.C.; U.S. Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard, Telecommunications Information Systems Command Center, Alexandria, Virginia; U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C.; the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, and the United States Army Field Band, Fort Meade, Maryland.
As the official ceremonial units for their respective services, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard Honor Guards routinely participate in ceremonies at the Pentagon, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, national memorials, throughout the National Capital Region and across the country.
The United States Army Field Band connects America to its Army by telling the Army story, honoring Soldiers and Veterans, and serving as the Musical Ambassadors of the Army.