Ohio National Guard News

Ohio National Guard supports Columbus Clippers’
festivities to celebrate National Aviation Day

Story and photos by Sgt. Andrew Kuhn, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

The Ohio National Guard was invited to support Columbus Clippers Aviation Day Game festivities to educate attendees, in part, about the Guard’s aviation capabilities Aug. 19, 2017, at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio.

Soldiers of the 122nd Army Band vocal quartet sing the national anthem.

Soldiers and Airmen composing an Ohio National Guard joint color guard return from the field after displaying the flags during the national anthem. Soldiers and Airmen composing an Ohio National Guard joint color guard display flags during the national anthem.
Girl sitting in a miniature F-16 Fighting Falcon replica.
Girl sitting in a miniature F-16 Fighting Falcon replica.    Boysitting in a miniature F-16 Fighting Falcon replica.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (08/19/17) — “Daddy, take my picture,” the pony-tailed toddler shouts as she runs ahead to the miniature F-16 Fighting Falcon replica. Enthusiastically she hops into the cockpit and mashes the levers to and fro, pretending to roar through the scattered clouds hanging in the August sky. Through the camera’s viewfinder, her grin radiates brighter than the solar glares bursting from behind the sign that says, “Huntington Park.”

In honor of National Aviation Day, the Columbus Clippers invited the Ohio National Guard to support Aviation Day festivities Aug. 19 during the Clippers’ game vs. Pawtucket, to educate attendees about the Guard’s aviation capabilities. National Aviation Day honors the first man to fly, Orville Wright, who was born Aug. 19, 1871, in Dayton, Ohio.

“(The game) gives us an opportunity to interact with the community face-to-face,” said Master Sgt. Betsey Brocklehurst, recruiting and retention manager with the 220th Engineering Installation Squadron. “We have a mini-jet and we have some recruiting booths set up to provide public awareness about the Ohio Air National Guard and what our missions are in Ohio.”

In addition to the mini-jet, the ONG’s joint color guard proudly displayed the flags while the 122nd Army Band’s vocal quartet performed the national anthem; the pregame festivities concluded with a standing ovation from the roaring crowd as a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 121st Air Refueling Wing soared overhead. Army and Air National Guard pilots teamed with recruiters to staff static displays and educate passer-byers.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Tim Allen, a Clippers fan from the Columbus area. “I come from a military family and this man right here (pointing to his 8-year-old son, Nathan, pretending to fly the aircraft) wants to serve one day himself; and I think people should understand what’s going on with regards to individuals that protect the freedoms of our citizens.”

Supporting the Clippers for this event helps the ONG come together with the community to share stories of the Ohio Guard’s 16,000 Soldiers and Airmen.

“Tonight’s events and the opportunity to be out here, show the public that we are just like everyone else,” said 1st Lt. Mike Walter, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot with Company A, 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment. “A lot of our Soldiers work as educators in the public school system, or we have a lot of fire fighters and policemen that are also coming in on the weekends to do military duty; so not only do we serve the public, but we are the public.”

Huntington Park boasts a seating capacity of approximately 10,000, and during a sold-out game that means the ONG can have the opportunity to make an impression upon thousands of local community members and build lasting relationships. Earlier this summer the ONG was invited to supported pregame activities for the Clippers’ Military Appreciation Night on July 5.

“A lot of times we get so involved with our missions and our day-to-day functions that we aren’t out and about in the community,” Brocklehurst said. “I don’t think people are really aware of what a hometown force we really are — a lot of us live and work here.”

To learn more about how members of the Ohio National Guard support the communities in which they live and work, check out the
Buckeye Guard, the official digital magazine and video newscast of the Ohio National Guard, or follow the ONG on Facebook and Twitter.

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