First pitch
U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood Commander Col. Chad R. Foster looks on as his some delivers the ceremonial first pitch at Military Appreciation Night at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, Aug. 18. (Photo Credit: Eric Franklin, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

ROUND ROCK, Texas — A rainy afternoon didn’t stop fans and over 100 Soldiers from across Fort Hood from going to Dell Diamond here, Aug. 18, for the Round Rock Express Military Appreciation Night game against the El Paso Chihuahuas.

Col. Chad R. Foster, commander of U.S. Army Garrison – Fort Hood, took to the pitching mound, but allowed his son to throw the first pitch of the game.

The Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball affiliate of the Texas Rangers, has been holding an annual Military Appreciation Night since 2000. The event honors active-duty military, families, retirees, veterans and families of fallen Soldiers. Thousands of people attend the event each year to show their support for the military. The event includes a recognition ceremony for each of the military branches, special activities and giveaways for attendees.

The Express also offered discounted tickets to military personnel and their families. Oscar Rodriguez, Director of Sales for the Round Rock Express said Military Appreciation Night is a great way to show support for those who have served or are serving our country.

“To provide an opportunity for the service men and women and their families to come out here, it means the world (to us) having Fort Hood right up the road,” he said. “It’s an absolute honor and that’s the least that we could do. We want to open our doors and make sure that any opportunity that these Soldiers get to get away and enjoy a night of baseball and entertainment.”

The night also served as a way for the community to learn more about the United States military and meet the men and women who serve. While members of the 11th Corps Signal Brigade had equipment on display, the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment had booths in the concourse to discuss their mission. Army recruiters were also on hand to explain the options for those wanting to join the Army.

Army recruiting
Attendees at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, learn more about what the U.S. Army has to offer from recruiters during Military Appreciation Night hosted by the Round Rock Express, Aug. 18. (Photo Credit: Eric Franklin, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Army has implemented a new program to prepare new recruits en route to initial military training to meet or exceed the rigorous standards. The Future Soldier Preparatory Course pilot program started this month at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. One of the Army’s newest recruits and one of the 2,000 applicants in the U.S. Army new course said they are excited to get a small taste of the Army life.

“Being here feels great. I feel like this is family. This is where my future life is going to be. So, I’m getting used to it.” said Kamron Nowlin of Houston.

The Chihuahuas defeated the Round Rock Express, 2-1, in game three of a six-game series.