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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Twins Military Appreciation Day

The Minnesota Twins' Military Appreciation Day has evolved The Twins not only showed their own appreciation to Service members May 27 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, they also incorporated the military directly into the game on several fronts

The Minnesota National Guard was the thickest presence of all the services, as all of the Guard armories and wings are in "Twins Territory" However, the Twins went out of their way to incorporate other services from the present and past wars of our nation

The 34th Infantry Division Band Rock Combo, "The Red Devils," played several tunes during the pre-game Staff Sgt Shawn Lidberg, Staff Sgt Josh Christianson, Staff Sgt Anthony Hunter, Staff Sgt Donald Pashby, and Sgt Brian Hitchcock rocked the Metrodome with classics like James Brown's "I Feel Good"

Also, members of the 34th Infantry Division Band, Sgt Jennifer Kruze and Sgt Katherine Gallagher sang the National Anthem to get the game started Minnesota Army and Air Reserve Soldiers and Airmen displayed the national and state colors, while the two Army National Guard sergeants sang the anthem

Soldiers serving overseas sent cheers for the home-team Twins and greetings to their families via a satellite connection Maj Barb O'Reilly, 147th Personnel Services Battalion sent greetings from Afghanistan and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Lease Co E, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry sent greetings from Iraq

"I miss and love you guys a lot, and I can't wait to get back home, and I'm coming home soon," said Sgt. 1st Class Lease to his family

However, Lease also took the opportunity show his dedication to the Twins, when he removed his ACU blouse to reveal a military undershirt with the Minnesota Twins' "TC" logo painted on the front

"I am a believer! Twins, you've got a World Series in you this year!" exclaimed Lease Sgt. 1st Class Lease's son, Austin threw out the ceremonial first pitch after the greeting from his father

The Twins also took time to show respect to those who have served and came back, as well as those who paid the ultimate sacrifice A long moment of silence was observed by the crowd, as the names of every Service member killed in combat during the last year were read

The Commander of the 34th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Rick Erlandson was the one who made the Twins-Military interaction a complete and official partnership Maj. Gen. Erlandson pinned a Purple Heart on Sgt Gary Krutke, 34th Military Police Company with Minnesota members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart present on the field to witness The solidifying factor in the partnership, however, was when Maj. Gen. Erlandson promoted Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire to the rank of Admiral

By Cpl Joe Roos
May 27, 2007
View the Twins Armed Forces Day photo gallery

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