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NEWS | April 10, 2024

Unity beyond the diamond: Army participates at White Sox game opener

By Maj. Shamika Hill Army Enterprise Marketing Office (AEMO)

In the heart of baseball season’s opening day, where fans eagerly filled the stadium, another significant presence was there — the proud representation of the Army. Leaders from all three components of the Army, Army civilians and community partners attended the Chicago White Sox home opener at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on March 28, 2024.

Brig. Gen. Antoinette Gant, chief, Army Enterprise Marketing Office, emphasized the importance of having the total Army present.

“Having all three components here shows that we are one team, one fight,” Gant said. “We need each other; one does not function without the other.”

Country music star and Army Reserve Warrant Officer Craig Morgan Greer, an associate band director with the 313th Army Band of Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, sang a distinctive rendition of the national anthem. His voice was full of strength and pride, and the Illinois National Guard’s flyover moved everyone in the stands.

“For me to be able to do this in the uniform and represent my Army and our country is very humbling, and I am grateful,” Greer said. “My hope is that people see me and say, ‘If that guy can do it, I can do it.’ That’s the idea. I am not here for me but for the Army.”

Maj. Gen. Matthew Baker, commanding general of the 88th Readiness Division, highlighted the significance of having an Army Reserve band at the event.

“Having the Army band changes the dynamics of the event,” Baker said. “They promote not only the Army Reserve, but the Army, and it helps to build a bond with local community.”

Greer was also recognized during the third inning changeover as the Hero of the Game.

“I am very humbled,” Greer said. “None of us join the Army for rewards or to have people pat us on the back. We join to serve our country. When I am presented with these awards, I receive them on behalf of all the men and women that are serving.”

Beyond the symbolic gestures, the military’s participation served as a tangible demonstration of the bond between the armed forces and the communities they serve.

“We are normal people, we are everyday individuals,” Gant said. “The fact that we are here gives us an opportunity to talk to the community about the various possibilities that the Army offers.”

Additionally, two civilian aides to the secretary of the Army (CASA) representing northern Illinois graced the event.

Steven Herman, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army, Illinois, explained the important role of CASAs.

“We are the outreach locally,” Herman said. “We are trying to show that we (military) are citizens just like everyone else.”

The baseball game opener served as a powerful reminder of the strength that comes from standing together, united in purpose and shared values.

“It is an opportunity for us to be able to collaborate with other military organizations in the Chicago area,” Gant said. “The more we find ways to work together, the better we help to overcome some of the stigmas of the military.”

The inclusive presence was a reminder that the commitment to duty extends far beyond the battlefield, encompassing every aspect of American life, including the beloved pastime of baseball.