Ay Chihuahuas! El Paso’s own baseball team wishes Army a happy birthday

Fort Bliss

POSTED: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 8:19pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 8:21pm

Nine Fort Bliss Soldiers took part in an Army birthday event hosted by the El Paso Chihuahuas baseball team Saturday at Southwest University Field downtown.

The event featured a mass-enlistment ceremony, the throwing of the first pitch, the singing of the national anthem by a Fort Bliss Soldier, and the 1st Armored Division presenting the national colors during pregame activities. 

Maj. Gen. Sean MacFarland, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss commander, conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Fort Bliss Soldiers. More than 30 local El Paso recruits also took their initial oath of enlistment during the pregame ceremony.

MacFarland then accompanied Cpl. Zachariah Gore, a Soldier assigned to the Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion out to the pitcher’s mound for the ceremonial first pitch of the game.

Gore, who lost his left arm and left leg while deployed in 2013, was initially hesitant to participate in the event."I’m not really comfortable around large crowds of people,” said Gore. “I do feel honored to do it, though.”

The 1st Armored Division color guard then marched the national colors onto the field and Spc. Joseph Levenston, a Soldier assigned to the 1st Armored Division Band, sang the national anthem.

MacFarland talked to the Soldiers and recruits at an informal meeting afterward, praising the Soldiers for their continued service and wishing the new recruits good luck during their future in the Army.

This is the first time that Fort Bliss and the Chihuahuas have conducted an event together. Brad Taylor, general manager for the Chihuahuas, said he has previous experience working with the Army. 

“I had the good fortune of working for a team in Fayetteville, North Carolina, years ago and met an airborne Soldier, Buck Rogers, who taught me how to work with the Army, how to recognize and honor them,” said Taylor. “It is only natural that the Chihuahuas do the same in El Paso to show our appreciation to the Soldiers.” 

The Chihuahuas also showed their support by wearing digital camouflage uniform tops for the game against the Round Rock (Texas) Express. The team will wear the camouflage jerseys every Monday night as part of Military Mondays.

“Celebrating the Army’s birthday by having the re-enlistment (and) enlistment ceremony in front of 9,000 people lets our community know how important the brave men and women (of the military) are,” said Taylor. 

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