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The Washington Nationals visit the 379th AEW

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zachary Foster
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Public Affairs

Former Washington Nationals players Adam Eaton and Doug Fister, the team's mascot Screech, and several team representatives visited the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing on July 3-4, 2024, to commemorate Independence Day.

The Nationals explored various career fields across the installation, including static display tours of a KC-135 Stratotanker and a C-17 Globemaster III. They spent some time with explosive ordnance disposal technicians from the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, participated in a military working dog demonstration with handlers from the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, and joined a ride-along with firefighters from the 379th ECES.

During the visit, the Nationals invited a 379th AEW Airman to virtually throw the first pitch, which was featured during their Fourth of July game in Washington D.C. Additionally, the Airman's family was invited to throw their own pitch live at the stadium.

"It's a surreal experience to be selected to throw out the first pitch for the Nationals," said the Airman. "A lot of hard-working men and women here at the epicenter are just as deserving, if not more; I'm super grateful for the experience."

As the capstone of the tour, service members from across the installation competed in a first ever Air Force vs. Army softball game at the 379th AEW, with each team coached by one of the former Nationals players. The Air Force triumphed with an overwhelming victory, defeating the Army 21 to 3.

"This was one of the best Air Force events I've been a part of," said one of the Air Force players. "The Nationals organization, our Airmen, and all the players from the Army and Air Force, on the eve of Independence Day, reminded me of how America's pastime can still bring everyone together."

The team hosted a Fourth of July celebration to conclude the visit, inviting all installation members to a simulcast of their game happening in Washington D.C. against the New York Mets. The former players and their mascot interacted with fans and provided complimentary game tickets for family members who live near the nation's capital.

“Being able to wish the service members individually a happy Fourth of July in country is something that I can say I’ve never done before,” said Fister. “It definitely puts things in perspective. The sacrifices they give day in and out, that’s something we can’t take for granted and it’s something we truly appreciate.”

The visit served as a heartfelt 'thank you' from both the Washington Nationals and the 379th AEW leadership for the hard work and dedication of the Airmen, as well as the joint and regional mission partners at the epicenter.

“It was an extraordinary way to celebrate our Nation’s freedom," said Brig. Gen. Richard Dickens, 379th AEW commander. "Giving our personnel the opportunity to take a knee and enjoy a taste of home on the Fourth of July was incredible. We are thankful to the Washington Nationals organization for enabling these great events for our warfighters. Whether they fly, fix, or support, we are incredibly proud of the work our service members do every day in support of our national interests.”