By Sgt. Khori Johnson
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs
The sound of “Ivy” Division cannon fire captivated the cheering fans surrounding Security Service Field, marking the opening ceremony of the Sky Sox Fort Carson Appreciation Night, May 4.
The Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies provide free tickets to servicemembers and their Families for the annual event, said Michael Hobson, assistant general manager of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
This year, the organization provided about 15,000 ticket vouchers to Fort Carson, leading to a packed house at the ballpark, Hobson said.
“Our military is such a big part of what our city is all about and what our country is all about,” he said. “We try to give our thanks to our men and women in uniform and their Families every chance we get. We wish we could do more, but the least we could do is offer a fun night at the ballpark.”
Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., presented the nation’s colors during the national anthem, rendering a 21-gun salute in honor of the nation.
“We support many things in town,” said Anderson. “This is just one more (way) we try to show our appreciation for what the community does for us.”
Watching the game with his wife and 6-year-old son from the Sky Box Suites located behind home plate, Spc. Christopher Mayhew, motor transport operator, Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Inf. Div., said the opening ceremony was the best he has seen to date.
The 3rd BCT color guard and salute battery, tasked to support the event, conducted multiple rehearsals to ensure the opening ceremony was a success.
“We’ve been preparing for this specific event for about two weeks. We even got about an hour of practice on the field before the game started,” said Staff Sgt. William McLaurin, a gunnery noncommissioned officer and color guard member with Battery A, 3rd Bn., 29th FA Reg. “Everybody did a really good job.”
While Soldiers, their Families and the Colorado Springs community enjoyed the beginning of the Sky Sox game, a few Soldiers of Distribution Platoon, Battery G, 3rd Bn., 29th FA Reg., continued to work diligently behind the scenes, tucked behind the outfield wall of Security Service Field, packing and loading the cannons, along with other various equipment, for transport back to Fort Carson.
“Basically, we provide support by transporting all of the ammo, the cannons and everything else for the line,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Martinez, a motor transport operator with Battery G.
While unseen by those attending the game, the platoon was glad to show its support for the event, said Martinez.
“It’s nice to give something back to the community and have them recognize us (for what we do),” he said. “It was pretty cool.”
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox fell to the Fresno Grizzlies, who after trailing 6-5, took a two-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, which would prove the difference in the game.
“I had my boys with me, who are 2 and 4, and it was their first baseball game. I don’t know if they were so much watching the game, but they had fun running around the stands and playing,” said Maj. Matthew Clark, division battle major with Company A, HHBN, 4th Inf. Div.
The event concluded with a fireworks show.
“My Family had a good time,” said Clark. “It’s a good feeling to know that the Sky Sox would do something like that … do something for Soldiers and show them that they care about what they do and see it as something of value and importance.”