MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. --
Marines on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., celebrated the raising of the morning colors with swinging style April 18.
This month’s ceremony honored the San Diego Padres for their years of military support.
Trevor Hoffman, former Padres pitcher and seven-time All Star, was on hand to witness the ceremony.
“It’s an honor to stand in front of you today to recognize the great work you do in our community, the great work you do on the base, around the world and around the country,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman, whose family includes Iwo Jima and Vietnam veterans, expressed his gratitude to the service men and women, but the Marines, sailors and veterans present were equally excited to meet a baseball hero.
In 1996, the Padres became the first national sports team to salute the military with discounted tickets, flag unfurling and special uniforms designed to look like military uniforms.
Sgt. Jeremy Winkfield, the ceremony’s reviewing officer and Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, native, explained that baseball and the Marine Corps go hand in hand.
“As much as baseball is an American game and its greatest pastime, that is the Marine Corps to America,” said Winkfield. “We are America’s Marine Corps, and being her 9-1-1 force is our greatest pastime.”
Winkfield competed for the opportunity to plan and execute the large event as part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general’s
Committed and Engaged Leadership Initiative. The program is designed to empower non-commissioned officers with leadership experience.
Following the ceremony, Hoffman signed autographs and took photos with eager fans. He did not leave until he had greeted everyone who wanted to see him.
The Padres have military salute games scheduled throughout the season, and will honor the Marine Corps during their May 19 game against the Washington Nationals.