Fort Leonard Wood soldiers thanked for role at baseball’s All Star Game
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2009 11:02 pm
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 20, 2009) — While the national television and radio audience may not have known it, Fort Leonard Wood soldiers took center stage at last week’s All-Star baseball game in St. Louis, with more than a hundred personnel from the post joining in a flag ceremony in front of President Barack Obama and tens of thousands of fans.
Waynesville R-VI School Board member Randy Walters, who attended the game, thanked Mike Warren, the post’s representative to the school district, during Monday night’s school board meeting.
“Fort Leonard Wood had a tremendous presence there. The 5th Engineers, the way I understood it, held the flag during the national anthem and all that and also provided the color guard, I believe,” Walters said. “There were lots of soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood and that is always great to see.”
Board President Mike Keeling also thanked the soldiers.
“Wasn’t it that a lot of soldiers that were there had just come back from deployment?” Keeling asked.
Walters said that’s correct.
“That was great to see, and they got a tremendous welcome,” Walters said. “That was good to say, ‘Those were from our hometown.’”
Warren said the “rest of the story” included the presence of four wounded warriors as well as many members of the 5th Engineer Battalion who had recently returned from Iraq.
“The one sad thing that I will say about that is there was no verbal mention of that on national TV, but they did announce it in the stadium and everyone here at Fort Leonard Wood knew who they were, so that was important to us,” Warren said.
Despite the lack of mention on national television, Warren said baseball officials “took good care of us” including allowing the soldiers to see an All Star game for free.
In related matters, Warren told board members that the St. Louis Cardinals will host a military appreciation day on Aug. 15.
Missouri’s other major military installation, Whiteman Air Force Base, also provided a flyover jokingly described by Walters as “that little airplane that flew through,” leading to laughs by other school board members.
“Missouri put on a show,” Walters said.
Not all of the military personnel from Fort Leonard Wood were attending only for ceremonial purposes. Walters noted that some were working in security roles at the admission gates to the stadium.
Those personnel at the gate included members of the 7th Civil Support Team, a full-time Missouri National Guard unit based at Fort Leonard Wood that’s trained to respond to hazardous material incidents. According to an article produced by National Guard public affairs personnel, the 7th CST did extensive testing for radiation and other potential hazards that could affect the large stadium audience, including the president.