Trainees watch the Columbia Fireflies play the Salem Red Sox during a game recognizing Fort Jackson’s 106th birthday at Segra Park, June 6. (Photo by Nathan Clinebelle)

Jackson has a ball at the park

By Veran Hill, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Soldiers from Fort Jackson and the Columbia Recruiting Battalion took time out to enjoy a night of Columbia Fireflies baseball and camaraderie to recognize Fort Jackson’s 106th birthday at Segra Park, June 6.

More than 500 Soldiers assigned to the 165th Infantry Brigade attended the game which pitted the Columbia Fireflies against the Salem Red Sox. The Soldiers who are entering their final week of Basic Combat Training were free to enjoy hotdogs, chips and soft drinks.

The game featured numerous activities and highlights that were geared toward keeping the spectators engaged. Spectators watched as future military members received their Oath of Enlistment, while current Soldiers renewed their current contracts by reenlisting before hundreds in attendance. Noncommissioned officers of the 165th Inf. Bde. provided the color guard for the event, while the National Anthem was sung by Cpl. Alexus Monroe with the 282nd Army Band.

The 282nd Army Band also serenaded those in attendance with a concert in the stadium’s rotunda. The band played popular music before the game, with hopes of exciting the crowd.

Officials with the Fireflies said the organization was honored to show its appreciation to Fort Jackson’s military members.

“Providing games like today gives the Fireflies an opportunity to show appreciation to the military,” said Ashlie DeCarlo, Columbia Fireflies Director of Marketing.

For the past seven years, the Fireflies have hosted military appreciation games throughout the year. Soldiers assigned at Fort Jackson provide color guard and musical support during numerous home games.

“We are thankful to the Soldiers at Fort Jackson and the military in the community,” DeCarlo said.

The Oath of Enlistment was administered to 10 reenlisting Soldiers and five future Soldiers by Col. Mark E. Huhtanen, Fort Jackson deputy commander, during pregame activities. The game’s first pitch was thrown by Post Command Sgt. Maj. Erick E. Ochs, and Pvt. Kyjah Ishaya, a trainee with 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, who was identified as the youngest Soldier in attendance.

The night with the Columbia Fireflies ended with a 7-1 victory for the Fireflies.

“The atmosphere is great, and I just love it all,” said Pfc. Alexander Collins, with the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment. “It’s good to hear the band performing and it was so cool to watch Soldiers being recognized when they reenlisted.”