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August 25, 2014 at 7:10am

Monday Morning Joe: ISIS myths, Russian tanks cross, US ultra-high speed missile, Twinx candy ...

Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team throws coffee pots at the off-base firing range near forward operating base Mehtar Lam. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane


American Peter Theo Curtis held captive for two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria was released Sunday.

Islamic State fighters captured a major military air base in northeastern Syria, eliminating the last government-held outpost in a province dominated by the extremist group, activists and state.

The nine biggest myths about ISIS.

The Ukrainian military said today a group of Russian forces, in the guise of separatist rebels, had crossed into south-east Ukraine with 10 tanks and two armored infantry vehicles, aiming to open a new front in the separatist war.

While the rest of the country took to the streets to celebrate Kiev's 23 years of independence from Moscow, rebels in the east dragged out prisoners of war for a "parade of shame."

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said it has brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the center of the country.

As the United States military's intervention in Iraq intensifies, so does the debate between legislative and executive branch officials about President Barack Obama's muscular use of war powers.

As the Obama administration weighs further action against the Islamic State, one of the top defense voices on the Hill is sending clear signals he expects action soon. "To the terrorists organizations who wish us harm, we're about to come after you again, all over, and we're gonna beat you, yet again," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said if Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants pose a direct threat to the United States, he would recommend that the U.S. military act against the group in Syria.

Iran unveiled a new generation of short-range marine missiles and aerial drones, as President Hassan Rouhani said its military doctrine was based on deterring and countering threats from unnamed foreign powers.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh: Expect further integration of active, guard and reserve components

American and Chinese companies are getting caught in the crossfire of a brewing cyber war.

The Pentagon will conduct a crucial flight test of a new ultra-high speed missile this week that is a key part of the strategic weapons program of preparing arms that can attack any point on earth in 30 minutes.

U.S. submarine fleet set to shrink by 25 percent.

Osprey crew members recognized for actions during ambush.

Unexpected Pressure: Research raises concerns for new Army helmet design.

How one female officer won over her skeptical combat-arms Marines.

California's drought is so bad its mountain rose a half inch.

Maybe you don't want to commit to a playground friend for life. Maybe you just wanna meet new people, just have a casual game of hopscotch. Thankfully, there's a new app that's disrupting online playdating.

Little girl's reaction to rocket launch is awesome.

Mark David Chapman, now 59, has been denied parole for the eighth time. Chapman shot and killed John Lennon in 1980.

Richard Attenborough has died. He was 90.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For didn't do well at the box office.

Finally: A Twinx = a Twinkie stuffed with a Twix bar, wrapped in bacon, fried and doused in chocolate-caramel sauce.

John Daker!

LINK: Original photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane

August 19, 2014 at 1:07pm

Terrorizing Rabbits: Washington National Guard trains for newest biological threat at Fircrest school

The simulated attack began at 7:35 a.m. when the fire alarm system at Wainwright Elementary School in Fircrest was activated. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The two soldiers from the North Dakota National Guard crinkled in their black hazardous materials suits as they walked through the darkened and deserted elementary school.

Movements were constricted; communication muffled.

Condensation streaked their masks reducing visibility.

At times, tempers got short.

After two hours of searching, the soldiers emerged from the building and headed back to their command post.

They had not found the bioweapon.

The simulated attack began at 7:35 a.m. when the fire alarm system at Wainwright Elementary School in Fircrest was activated.

Approximately 300 faculty and students exited the building and moved to areas of accountability. While in these areas, the school's sprinkler system inexplicably activated, drenching everyone.

When the school's janitor turned the sprinklers off, he noticed that someone had put a timer on the system with a hose running out of the shed and attached to one of the sprinklers.

Then things got worse.

At 7:45 a.m., multiple news agencies received an email from an unknown person or agency claiming credit for the biological attack on Wainwright.

The terrorist(s) claimed that the food and water at the school had been targeted and that the sprinkler system had been activated to spray students and faculty with a biological weapon of mass destruction.

The message ended by saying there would be more attacks.

"A biological attack is the toughest to deal with; you have to first find out what it is before you can deal with it," commented Maj. Jim Jack, the deputy commander of the Washington National Guard's 10th Civil Support Team.

"And in this scenario the terrorists have used a weapon that may be the next big bioweapon."

The news agencies contacted the police and fire departments. Both arrived on scene.

Fire personnel determined the fire alarm had been manually activated and began to investigate the report of the use of a bioweapon. In short order, decontamination assets were requested.

So too are the FBI, the Departments of Health and Ecology and the Washington National Guard's Civil Support Team, or CST.

The unit supports civil authorities at domestic incident sites involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives (CBRNE).

The team provides identification and assessment of hazards, advice to civil authorities and facilitates the arrival of follow-on military forces during emergencies and incidents of weapons of mass destruction terrorism.

>>> A member of North Dakota's National Guard's 81st Civil Support Team monitors for a chemical, radiological or biological element during a training exercise. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Joining the 10th CST at Wainwright Elementary Aug. 18 in Fircrest for this simulated multi-CST exercise were soldiers assigned to the 81st CST from North Dakota, the 82nd CST from South Dakota and the 102nd CST from Oregon.

After setting up an operations center, the CSTs comprised of about 80 soldiers quickly began to eliminate the known variables in an attempt to zero in on the biological agent.

>>> Water was the source of the attack, and soldiers from the North Dakota's 81st Civil Support Team search a kitchen sink. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The students and faculty were run through a decontamination process and found to be safe.  Parents were notified and assured that their children were not contaminated.

School officials were questioned about who had been in and out of the school over the past several weeks.

One item of interest that emerged was that about 30 students had been sick before the attack, and it was noted that the students came from certain areas of the school.

In each area there was a water source.

With instructions that a biological dispersal device had been used that may involve water, CSTs from North Dakota's 81st CST and Oregon's 102nd CST suited up.

The soldiers searched the exterior and interior of the school.  They moved deliberately; they used equipment to measure for radiation and gas; they took hundreds of pictures.

What they didn't know was what exactly the bioweapon was and how it had been dispersed.  All they knew is that water played a role.

The weapon brings to mind an image of a bunny rabbit.

Tularemia, sometimes referred to as rabbit fever, was the weapon.  It can be transferred through physical contact, the air or through water sources.

If untreated, the disease results in death.

>>> Working in the hot and muffled world of a hazardous material suit led to the build-up of sweat and condensation. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

In a recently published report, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated that tularemia has been used as a bioweapon in other countries.

"Despite its importance for both public health and biodefense," said Geoffrey Feld at the most recent annual Biophysical Society Meeting, "tularensis pathogenesis isn't entirely understood, nor do we fully understand how the organism persists in the environment.

As the soldiers from the 81st CST began their search through the school, they focused on drinking foundations, sinks and other water sources.

The dispersal systems - a water foundation, a spray bottle and a sink in a classroom - were in the open.

Like a plastic spray bottle.

"The weapon is in the water; the spray bottle is used to clean the tables where the children sit to eat their breakfast; that's how the children become infected," pointed out Lt. Col. Scott Humphrey, the 10th CST's commander.

For the better part of two hours they searched the school's kitchen, classrooms and gymnasium.

Much, much later they found the dispersal systems.

"How operations are conducted can vary from state to state," continued Humphrey.

"The week long training we are involved in gives us the chance to train each other while challenging our skill sets. We only get better."

August 19, 2014 at 7:33am

Tuesday Morning Joe: US blows up its tanks, Russia in Ukraine, Camp Grayling is bad news, best CGI films ...

The 299th Eng. Co., 463rd Eng. Bn., 411th Eng. Bde., perform the coffee pot throw segment of Mystery Event 1, during the Best Warrior Competition at Fort Devens, Mass. Original photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lyndon Miller


As many as 700 heavily armed Taliban insurgents are battling Afghan security forces in Logar, a key province near the capital Kabul in a test of the Afghan military's strength as foreign forces pull out of the country.

U.S. spends millions to blow up its own tanks.

President Barack Obama promised that while the U.S. would use its formidable air power to help Iraq push back extremist Islamic State fighters from Erbil and other key northern Iraqi cities, Baghdad shouldn't count on the U.S. "being the Iraqi Air Force."

Russia invaded Ukraine early in the spring. They started with the so-called "little green men" - Russian soldiers without insignia on their green uniforms -- then proceeded with uniforms with epaulets and the annexation of Crimea. Russia has been the force behind, and on the ground, with the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Despite sanctions relief, Iran aids Hamas with missile technology.

The U.S. Navy destroyed the "most dangerous chemicals in Syria's declared stockpile," aboard a ship in the Mediterranean.

Will the U.S. defend Japan? More of a definite maybe.

First Time: It was one small button push for man and one giant catapult launch for the Navy's unmanned air combat program Sunday as the X-47B flew its first takeoffs and landings with F/A-18s on the aircraft carrier Roosevelt.

The Defense Department awarded 78 contracts potentially worth $5.6 billion in the week ending Aug. 15.

A backpack able to lower its wearer down the side of a building could become must-have gear for troops in urban combat.

A Michigan National Guard investigation produced allegations of widespread theft, moonlighting, destruction of government property and nepotism at an equipment maintenance facility at the Camp Grayling military training base.

Report: Army Olympian cited for hunting deer at car dealership.

Interesting: This neat short film explains the evolution of film opening titles throughout history.

The 10 most visually striking movies that are filled with CGI.

Here's a recipe for fun: Go up to the 48th floor of a skyscraper in London. Enjoy a beer at the rooftop bar. Change into your base jumping gear in the restroom. Make a beeline for the balcony and jump into the heart of London.

This is sad: Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo died. He was 96.

How Would They Know?: Children reenact Emmy-nominated shows like Game of Thrones, House of Cards and True Detective.

Tom Hanks' typewriter app is a hit.

Legendary American singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks invites fashion designers and stylists across the world to design a show-stopping shawl inspired by her mystical visual style and symbolic lyrics.

Max-imize your day ...

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lyndon Miller

July 28, 2014 at 1:29pm

Words and Photos: Washington National Guard Night at Cheney Stadium

The 133d Army National Guard Band was on the Cheney Stadium's big screen, performing the "National Anthem" July 24. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Tacoma Rainiers played host last week to hundreds of service men and women from throughout Washington during the team's Washington National Guard Night.

"The Tacoma Rainiers value and support what the Washington National Guard, along with all branches of the military, do for the residents of this great state," said Tacoma Rainiers Group Event Coordinator Chris Aubertin.  "The opportunity to provide the citizen-soldiers and airmen, along with their families, a fun, affordable experience at our ballpark is a small way of saying thanks." 

The 133rd Army National Guard Band had the special honor of performing the "National Anthem" and officially kicking off the event, which was held July 24 at Cheney Stadium.

"This isn't the first time the band has played on the field, but it was my first time," said Sgt. 1st Class Alton Huckaby, a member of the 133rd Army National Guard Band. "The experience is a little bit overwhelming at first.  Walking out onto home plate, you don't realize how the attention is literally all around you." 

"All the timing that goes into it for just two minutes is intense," said fellow band member Staff Sgt. Amy O'Shield. "This is one of our communities, so it's great to be out here representing, and it was very well received."

>>> A member of the Las Vegas 51s minor league baseball team gives a fist-bump to members of the 133rd Army National Guard Band after they perform the "National Anthem" for Washington National Guard Night with the Tacoma Rainiers July 24. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The 133rd Army National Guard Band often plays the face of the Washington National Guard, with many opportunities to shake hands with people who don't get exposed to the military as much as other communities.


Filed under: National Guard, Sports, Music, Tacoma,

July 1, 2014 at 7:31am

5 Things To Do Today: Zwei Leben, farmers market, 133rd Army Band, Web of Sunsets ...

Regisseur Georg Maas (“NeuFundLand”) gelang ein spannend erzählter Auszug deutsch-norwegischer Kriegsgeschichte, das sich nicht nur im Kopf verankert.

TUESDAY, JULY 1 2014 >>>

1. This year's foreign-language Oscar submission from Germany Zwei Leben casts Norwegian legend Liv Ullmann and German star Juliane Koehler as a mother and daughter in Norway whose relationship and extended family are shaken to the core by revelations brought about by the fall of the Berlin Wall. But when a lawyer asks the tow to witness in a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, there's resistance. Gradually, a web of concealments and secrets is unveiled. Catch the film at 2:30 and 6:45 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

2. The USA has done what everyone thought impossible, advancing to the second round (the knockout stage) of the World Cup and giving us more excuses to hit bars on weekdays - as if we needed any. USA now takes on Belgium at 1 p.m. in a match that's win or go home. So throw on that stinky red, white, and blue shirt you superstitiously haven't washed in two weeks and consider this a month long 4th of July celebration. 

3. Westside Olympia is happening, but that's not news to those who live up on the hill. If you want proof, drop by the Tuesday West Olympia Farmers Market from 4-7 p.m. In addition to an awesome selection of local vendors, this season features live music, raffles and special events. Drop by for fresh produce, baked goods, pastured poultry and meats, flowers, veggie starts and crafts.

4. The Washington Army National Guard's 133rd Army Band, which is comprised of more than 40 citizen-soldiers, is in summer mode, which means free outdoor concerts loaded with patriotic tunes. The 133rd Army Band was organized and recognized in the Washington Army National Guard in 1924 as the Band Section Battery of the 146th Field Artillery. Over the years it has been re-designated many times, standing proud today as the 133rd Army Band. Load up the low rising chairs, blankets and kids in the family truckster and head toward Skansie Brothers Park and catch the band from 5-8 p.m. with beautiful Gig Harbor in the background.

5. Minneapolis trio Web of Sunsets brings their off-center country hymns to Le Voyeur at 9 p.m.

LINK: Tuesday, July 1 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

June 30, 2014 at 2:39pm

Washington National Guard adds Fourth of July celebrations to its #GuardWeek

The Washington National Guard will be on both sides of the Cascades during the Fourth of July weekend. Courtesy photo

The Washington National Guard celebrates our nation's independence with several statewide "#GuardWeek" events as part of "It's your home, It's your guard, It's your week" 2014 campaign. The Guard hopes all ages enjoy the following community events, encouraging tagging Fourth of July photos on twitter with the social media hashtag, #GuardWeek.

The Washington National Guard kicks off its #GuardWeek campaign with the Go Fourth Festival in Longview July 2-3. Drop by the Washington National Guard information booth and enjoy the 133rd Army Band.

Friday, July 4, the Washington National Guard heads to Seattle for the Seafair Summer Fourth at Gas Works Park and South Lake Union Park. Expect to see vehicle static displays, 133rd band, interactive booths and an awe-inspiring presentation with a salute cannon and aerial display to start the fireworks show. 

The Guard will participate in the city of Auburn's Fourth of July festivities at Les Grove Park, including a concert by its 133rd Band. Those in Les Grove Park will enjoy various arts and crafts, car show, parade, and various entertainers on two stages.

Will you be close to the Tacoma Waterfront? The Washington National Guard will be. The Guard will have static vehicle displays, interactive booths and entertainment at the "America Be Strong" Stage by the Lobster Shop restaurant on Ruston Way as part of the huge Freedom Fair.

Have a need for speed?  Then make sure you visit the Evergreen Motor Speedway in Monroe July 4. The Guard will have static vehicle displays, interactive booths and entertainment. 

The Guard will also be participating in several parades in Arlington and Edmonds.

Across the Cascades, the Guard will be a part of Spokane's July 4 Pennant 5k Run in the morning and closing out the day with the triple-a baseball team Spokane Indians as they take on the Vancouver Canadians, followed by fireworks. The Washington National Guard will have a Paladin Howitzer Static Display and information booth

The 133rd Band will also play in White Salmon outside of Yakima as part of a Fourth of July celebration.

Closing out the 4th of July Weekend, the Washington National Guard and the Seattle Reign Women's Soccer team will have a military appreciation match against the Boston Breakers at Memorial Stadium in Seattle Sunday, July 6. The Guard will present the Colors, bring static displays, host an information booth and toss the coin. 

June 10, 2014 at 9:46pm

Straight Talk: Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza discusses Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the community and the future

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza understands perfectly well the function of a town hall meeting.

"This brings us together," the commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord said this morning.

"Members from the business community, academia and local government are here," he said to the nearly 100 listeners.

Eagles Pride Golf Course at DuPont hosted the two-hour event. 

In a candid, clear and relaxed manner, Lanza talked about the trust the Army and JBLM have built with the local area and the sustainment of the force as the country faces uncertain economic times.

"We will sustain the trust we have built with this community," Lanza said.  "Forums like this build on that trust."


May 31, 2014 at 1:17pm

Seahawks' "Heroes of 12" tour stops at Camp Murray for a tailgate party

>>> Seagal Christian and Seagal Taylor give thumbs down after a Washington National Guard Philadelphia Eagles fan sneaks in and shows off his Eagles shirt during the “Seahawks” Vince Lombardi Trophy event on Camp Murray May 29. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Vince Lombardi Trophy has always signified a city's - and a community's - worldly accomplishment, but it doesn't always represent an entire state like it did May 29 when the trophy came to Camp Murray as part of the Seattle Seahawks' "Heroes of 12" trophy tour.

"This was a well put together event to help build the morale of our service members as well as to strengthen our community outreach efforts with the Seahawks organization," said Assistant Adjutant General for the Washington National Guard, Brig. Gen. Wallace Turner. "It was a pleasure not only seeing the trophy, but also seeing hundreds of servicemembers and their families connecting with one another throughout the day."

The Super Bowl 48-winning team's Vince Lombardi Trophy took a two-day "Heroes of 12"trip May 28 and 29, first visiting active duty servicemembers on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, followed by a trip across the I-5 highway the following day to the Washington National Guard Headquarters on Camp Murray.

>>> The Vince Lombard Trophy appearance at the Washington National Guard's Arsenal Museum brought in hundreds of servicemembers, including family members, to pose with the trophy. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Seagal Taylor adds her signature to the hundreds of other servicemember's signatures on the same 12th Man Flag that flew on the Camp Murray flagpole during the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl playoff run. Every servicemember that posed with the Vince Lombardi Trophy added their signature to the 12th Man Flag. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Seahawks and the "12" community that so proudly supports it, whether here at home or in the camps in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq, have a big impact on the service members that serve Washington state.

Those unfamiliar with the National Guard may not be familiar with the fact that these citizen-soldiers are exactly that: soldiers and citizens of Washington state. Many were born here, raised here and will most likely, one day be buried here.

Encountering servicemembers who weren't Seahawks fans may have been a surprise to some, but those who truly know the family bonds that these citizen-soldiers hold wouldn't find a single reason why another city's fan, a different state's fan even, would be at an event where family members, friends and fellow servicemembers joined together as a community to have a good time.

>>> The Washington National Guard's Assistant Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Wallace Turner presents Seahawks Fan Development Assistant Director Armando Mejia and the Seahawks organization with a certificate of appreciation for their support of the Washington National Guard. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Camp Murray trophy event even managed to raise more than $1,100 for the Minuteman Emergency Assistance Fund, the Washington National Guard Arsenal Museum and National Guard Association of Washington Education Scholarship, which most frequently benefits the families of service members serving Washington state.

Along with more than 450 people at the JBLM event the day prior, more than 500 people showed up to the Camp Murray event.

But this event wasn't just about the trophy: Seagals Christian and Taylor accompanied the trophy, posed with servicemembers and took time to mingle while enjoying the "tailgating" event area set up by the Joint Services Support Directorate outside of the Arsenal Museum.

The "tailgating" event was comprised of various games - supervised by the Washington National Guard's Recruiting & Retention Battalion - a hot dog lunch and a National Guard Association and American Lake Credit Union-conducted raffle, with the main draw item a Richard Sherman-signed football.

>>> Spec. Samson Anderson (Washington National Guard Recruiting & Retention Battalion takes a selfie with Seagal Christian during the Camp Murray Vince Lombardi Trophy Tailgate event. The tailgate event was set up outside of the Arsenal Museum, where servicemembers could pose with the Seahawks Super Bowl trophy. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Lt. Col. Thomas Wargo, Deputy G3, Mobilization and Readiness, enjoys a game of Spike Ball with guard youth during the tailgating portion of the Camp Murray Vince Lombardi Trophy event at Camp Murray May 29. Photo credit: Gary Lott

"Today's ‘Heroes of 12' tour at Camp Murray provided another opportunity to rally soldiers, families and friends of the Washington National Guard team to celebrate the winning culture of the Seattle Seahawks championship team," said Joint Services Support Director Lt. Col. Don Brewer.

The Seahawks' winning culture is one that the Washington National Guard is continuously working hard to establish and maintain.

"The soldiers, airmen and families of the Washington National Guard benefit greatly from the generous contributions of our community partners, like the Seattle Seahawks," Brewer said. "The level of commitment and care that these partners hold for those who have served our State and Nation is something that will always astound me."


Washington National Guard played big role in Seahawks' Super Bowl Championship parade

May 20, 2014 at 4:10pm

Seahawks Vince Lombardi Trophy to visit Camp Murray

Sgt. Maj. Kelly Pugh of the Washington Army National Guard held the Vince Lombadri trophy during the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champions parade Feb. 5, 2014, in Seattle. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Hey Servicemembers! Bring your Seahawks gear and cameras to pose with the Seahawks Super Bowl Trophy at Camp Murray, Thursday, May 29.

The Seattle Seahawks 2014 Vince Lombardi Trophy will visit the Washington National Guard's Arsenal Museum on Camp Murray from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 29.

Along with the encased Super Bowl Championship trophy on display, two Seagal cheerleaders will also be in attendance to meet and greet with servic members and their families.

A $3 hot dog lunch — prepared by the guard's G4 directorate — along with various raffle items, will be available to benefit the Minuteman Emergency Assistance Fund, as well as the museum.

For any questions, please email wngpao@gmail.com. The Arsenal Museum is at Building 2 on Camp Murray.

Let's look at the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champions parade again!

April 28, 2014 at 1:09pm

Words & Photos: Seattle Mariners 13th annual Salute to Armed Forces

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza received a commemorative plaque by the Seattle Mariners in appreciation for the service of the U.S. Army. Members from all six branches received a plaque. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Seattle Mariners professional baseball team hosted its 13th annual Salute to Armed Forces event April 26 during a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.

The festivities kicked off an hour prior to the game, with a special pre-game program that honored U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and military service supporting organizations.

"We feel strongly that it is appropriate and important to pay tribute to the men and women who serve our country in the military," said Seattle Mariners Director of Public Information Rebecca Hale.  "The biggest change over the years is how inclusive it has become to all the branches of the military, as well as veterans and disabled veterans groups now being represented. Our goal is to be as inclusive as we can be and to pay tribute to as many individuals and organizations as we can."

A member from each branch of the military - Army Staff Sgt. Rodney Greenway; Marine Corps Sgt. Ariel Hargave; Navy Master at Arms 1st Class Joseph Reyes; Air Force Reserve Maj. Marc Miller; Coast Guard Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Jason Gale; and Washington National Guard Staff Sgt. Jason Fox - lined up along the baseline prior to the game to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"It feels pretty good right now, knowing that I will be throwing out a first pitch," said Fox, who works with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment.  "It will be a little interesting, trying to throw a pitch in my service uniform, but I think I can get it accomplished."

>>> Col. William Krueger receives a commemorative plaque on behalf of the U.S. Air Force from the Seattle Mariners during the Salute to Armed Forces Night at Safeco on April 26. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Col. Jeremy Horn, Washington National Guard, receives a plaque from the Seattle Mariners. Photo credit: Gary Lott

This was just the beginning of a night dedicated to America's men and women in uniform.

The Mariners also presented officers from each of the U.S. military branches with a  commemorative plaque. Those receiving plaques were: Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, U.S. Army; Maj. Gen. David Berger, U.S. Marine Corps; Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, U.S. Navy; Col. William Krueger, U.S. Air Force; Capt. Matthew Miller, U.S. Coast Guard; and Col. Jeremy Horn, Washington National Guard, on behalf of Brig. Gen. John Tuohy.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord I Corps Army Band performed the National Anthem, and the colors were presented by the U.S. Joint Service Honor Guard. "Taps" was performed by Army Spc. Raymond Deleon, and during the 7th Inning Stretch, Tech. Sgt. Alfredo "Freddie" Garza of the U.S. Air Force Reserve performed "God Bless America."  

Along with the many military representatives on the field, organizations including the Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Washington State Guard and Reserve and the USO were introduced during the pregame ceremony.

Organization representatives handled the honorary duties of delivering the lineup cards and game balls.

Fans had the opportunity to support the USO by bidding on silent auction items such as autographed baseballs, game-used items and other memorabilia.

>>> Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Army I Corps Band performs the National Anthem before the Seattle Mariners played the Texas Rangers April 26. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Washington National Guardsmen Staff Sgt. Jason Fox, Bravo Company, 1-161, throws out one of the six ceremonial first pitches at the 13th Annual Mariners Salute to Armed Forces. Photo credit: Gary Lott

"Because we are located in a community that is close to so many military installations, we recognize that there are a lot of fans who are associated with the military," Hale said. Discounted tickets for the game - as low as $11 - were available to members of the military.

 "This year, we have made the discount a blanket 10 percent for all remaining games. So if you're coming from Whidbey, or Bremerton or JBLM, it might be a little easier to come on a Friday night or a weekend than a week night," Hale continued.  "Offering a discount is one small way we can show our appreciation to the men and women, and their families, who have served our nation."

Military personnel receive 10 percent off select main, terrace and view-level seats for all home game tickets on the Mariners 2014 home schedule. Tickets are available at mariners.com/tickets.

"I'm honored and blessed that I'm actually able to come out and do something like this to support my unit," Fox said. "A lot of us have been out on deployments overseas and seen some bad things. It's nice to see that [the Mariners] recognize what we have done, as well as what the service members in the past have done." 

SEE ALSO McChord security forces reservist sings during Mariners' Salture to Services game

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