News: 'Raider Night' with the Rainiers
Story by Spc. Reese Von Rogatsz
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Soldiers from 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, their Families and friends, gathered for ‘Raider Night’ at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Wash. Aug. 7 to enjoy a baseball game between the Tacoma Rainiers and New Orleans Zephyrs.
The 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div. ‘Raiders’ spent an evening of rest and relaxation following a recent rotation at the National Training Center in California, to emerge refreshed and ready to resume preparations for future training and operations.
The evening was also an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with the local community.
“On behalf of the 4,810 soldiers assigned to the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and their Family members, I’m honored to take a few moments to thank the community of Tacoma and the Tacoma Rainiers for their warm support,” said Col. Michael Getchell, the brigade’s commander, in his opening remarks.
The stadium’s jumbo-tron lit up with video footage of Raiders training at NTC, the brigade’s color guard rendered honors during the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner," and the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Sgt. Dariusz Krzywonos from 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment.
An ‘Armed Forces Member of the Game’, Krzywonos was recently selected as the United States Army Forces Command “Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year” following a mentally and physically challenging evaluation at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
“I was asked to throw the opening pitch, which I found very exciting and adventurous,” said Krzywonos, who had not held a baseball in his hand until the previous day.
“We have a good baseball player in our unit,” he continued, “who spent about an hour with me practicing, throwing the ball back and forth.”
Five other soldiers, one from each battalion, were recognized on the field in front of the spectators for their individual accomplishments and given access to the United Service Organizations box seats at the stadium.
The brigade’s Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, or Humvees, were on display throughout the evening and proved popular with fans young and old.
Amy Downing, wife of Lt. Col. William S. Downing, commander of 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment was cheered by the fans after her singing of "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch.
“It was amazing to see so many Soldiers and their Families enjoying themselves and really getting into the game,” said Mr. Don Dibastiani, group events coordinator for the Tacoma Rainiers.
Despite the final score of Zephyrs 2, Rainiers 0, soldiers and families enjoyed the camaraderie of a night out at the ballpark.
“It was an honor to be able to work with the 4th Stryker Brigade and be able to provide a way for the unit to get together for some fun and build morale,” Dibastiani said.
“We would not be able to do what we do if it were not for folks like yourselves.”
The ‘Raiders’ are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan late autumn in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.