By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael J. Lieberknecht
NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Norfolk Tides, a minor league baseball team, hosted its 8th annual Navy Night at Harbor Park Aug. 8.
The event was held in honor of the men and women of the U.S. Navy and to showcase the capabilities of commands in the region.
"Tonight we celebrate our naval forces that have evolved from six frigates to the most dominant and influential naval force in the world," said Jack Ankerson, former executive director of the Hampton Roads Sports Commission.
Before the game, public interactive displays from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and Mid-Atlantic Fire & Rescue were set up outside of the ballpark. Inside the park were tables featuring displays from Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Navy Stewards of the Sea, and a Sailor from Naval Station Norfolk performing basic knot tying skills.
On the field, fans in their seats were shown a demonstration with Dokie, a Navy working dog trained to find explosives and take down threatening persons.
"It went really well," said Master-At-Arms 1st Class Nick Webster, attached to a K-9 unit from Naval Air Station Oceana. "It was a great chance to show the public what we do."
Following that, seven recruits from a local Delayed Entry Program (DEP) recited the oath of enlistment on the third base line, making their entry into the Navy official.
"My favorite part of the night was watching the admiral swear in all of them," said Yeoman 3rd Class Ashley Bracken, from Norfolk. "It brought back the memory of when I swore in."
After Rear Adm. Rick Williamson, commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, joined in throwing the first pitch, fans held their hands over their hearts for the national anthem. The Tides, dressed in blue digital camouflage, then took to the field to begin the game.
"As Sailors, with the nature of our job being deployed, sports is life-blood to us," said Williamson.