In celebration of the Air Force’s 75th anniversary, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command partnered with the Southeast Region Little League during its annual youth baseball tournament at Warner Robins, Aug. 3-9.
During the week-long tournament, airmen from across the headquarters, located at Robins Air Force Base, participated in on-field military appreciation ceremonies.
“This is the 75th anniversary of our Air Force, and for the past 10 months, we have been able to look back and celebrate the contributions of our airmen,” said Col. Bo Shelton, AFRC’s Directorate of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection command staff officer, during the tournament’s opening ceremony. “For 75 years, the Air Force has taken individual superstars from across the United States and turned them into superstar airmen able to fly, fight and win. You players were stars on your teams before being named all-stars. You arrived here to compete for a regional title and the opportunity to vie for the Little League World Series championship.”
Shelton, who grew up in Roswell playing Little League baseball, said that organized sports, like the Air Force, teach people hard work and how to work together as a team – great traits for success in life.
“In fact, whether or not you realize it, the experiences of Little League are positively shaping your future now,” he said. “Many of you will one day work as doctors, engineers, astronauts or serve in the military like I have for the past 40 years. Indeed, nothing would make those of us currently in uniform more proud than to have you follow in our footsteps. You’re obviously not afraid of hard work and you definitely know what it takes to be a good teammate.”
Several members of the AFRC staff had the opportunity throw out first pitches during the tournament, including Maj. Gen. Richard Kemble, director of Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements; Brig. Gen. Scott Durham, director of Air, Space and Information Operations; Col. Dave Robertson, director of staff; Chief Master Sgt. Darren Wiseman, Force Generation Center senior enlisted leader and Chief Master Sgt. Erik Powell, Air Force Office of Special Investigations liaison to AFRC. Col. Lindsay Droz, commander of the 78th Air Base Wing at Robins AFB, also threw out the first pitch during the tournament.
The 78th ABW also provided an honor guard and national anthem singers for the ceremonies. During the opening ceremony, AFRC’s 339th Flight Test Squadron conducted an F-15 Eagle flyover to the joy of those in attendance.
Local Reserve recruiters were also in attendance during the championship game, Aug. 9, handing out Air Force 75th anniversary promotional items to members of the crowd.
The Southeast Region Little League is made up of teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. In the championship game, Tennessee defeated Virginia to gain a spot in the Little League Championship in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.