As part of the Padres' 12-game Military Appreciation Series and the first of six service-branch days scheduled for 2012, the US Navy was the focus of June 3rd's US Navy Appreciation game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, presented by USAA.
A testament to San Diego's strong support of the military, thousands of Padres fans rose to their feet and cheered as 100 Sailors wearing their service dress white uniforms (informally known as "cracker jacks") marched onto the field. The Sailors were crewmembers of the San Diego-based ships Benfold, Essex, Mobile Bay, Princeton, Preble, and the newly commissioned San Diego.
The US Navy Parachute Team circled overhead and was ready to jump into Petco Park but due to limited visibility the performance was canceled for safety reasons. Also known as the Leap Frogs, the team consists of some of the most experienced SEAL operators from the elite Naval Special Warfare community which is headquartered in Coronado. Members of the Leap Frogs represented Naval Special Warfare in a pre-game ceremony that highlighted the 50th Anniversary of the Navy Seal Teams. On Jan. 1, 1962, SEAL teams 1 and 2 were officially established in response to then-President John F. Kennedy's desire for the armed forces to possess an unconventional warfare capability.
Navy Recruiting District San Diego performed color guard duties as the Navy Region Southwest Band, under the direction of Musician 1st Class Evan Vis, performed Anchors Aweigh and the Star Spangled Banner.
Rear Adm, Dixon Smith, the Commander of Navy Region Southwest, tossed out the ceremonial first pitch to Padres outfielder Mark Kotsay. Also known as the "Navy mayor," Smith is responsible for all naval shore installations in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Rear Adm. Smith's wife Kiki threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 6.
The Padres are proud to support the thousands of Sailors and their families who call San Diego home. These men and women spend months at sea and on foreign soil in support of our National Security Strategy. From supporting contingency operations in Afghanistan to providing humanitarian assistance in disaster zones, our Sailors truly live up to the Navy's slogan as a "Global Force for Good." Through their tireless efforts and the support of their families, our Sailors are a vital component of the San Diego community and the nation as a whole.
To view a photo gallery from the event, click here