Aberdeen Proving Ground service members were honored during the annual Military Appreciation Night at Ripken Stadium, July 30.

Maj. Gen. Nick G. Justice, commander of APG and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, gave remarks during the pregame festivities.

He thanked the event participants and sponsors and gave a special thanks to Soldiers, past and present, for their hard work and dedication to the nation.

Justice, Col. Orlando W. Ortiz, APG Garrison and deputy installation commander and Alex Webber from the APG League of Dreams team threw out ceremonial first pitches.

The pitches were followed by a performance by the American Belles, a patriotic music group, who sang a medley of service songs.

Following the medley, a mixed unit color guard, representing different branches of service, marched onto the field stopping near the pitcher's mound for the national anthem, sung by Sgt.
Anthony Gentilo from the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band. After Gentilo's song, the Forest
Lake Elementary School Band also provided the audience with an instrumental rendition of the national anthem. During the game, Soldiers from the Bel Air Recruiting Station handed out information to attendees and gave water bottles and T-shirts to participants willing to do sit-ups and push-ups.

Several Soldiers also participated in a push-up contest on the field during a game break.

During the seventh-inning stretch, Gentilo came onto the field again to sing a stirring rendition
of "God Bless America."

In keeping with the event's theme, a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle from the U.S.
Army Developmental Test Command and a motorized helmet and several banners from APG's Multimedia/Visual Information Services Division were also on display in front of Ripken Stadium.

To show appreciation, Ripken Baseball treated the entire military contingent to a buffet dinner.

Capt. Ginger Hammerquist, commander of the Garrison's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, who organized the event, said that Military Appreciation Night establishes a partnership with the local community.

"This event gave the community a chance to unite and show appreciation for past and present
service members," Hammerquist said. "The event also gave APG service members the
opportunity to give back to the community by sharing their unwavering spirit and sincere
enthusiasm for the nation."