General, Red Sox icon make Air Force Week pitches

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
  • Air Force News Agency
An Air National Guard general and a Boston Red Sox legend both threw out first pitches before a minor league baseball game Aug. 23 at Lelacheur Park here.

As part of an Air Force Week New England event, Maj. Gen. Michael D. Akey, the Massachusetts ANG chief of staff, said it was a thrill to participate in the pre-game festivities of the Lowell, Mass., Spinners vs. the Aberdeen, Md., Ironbirds ballgame.

"Baseball is all about America," he said. "The greatest thing about being out there tonight was the excitement. Getting out on the field and throwing the first pitch all of that energy bubbled up inside me and took me back to when I was a kid."

The general shared the spotlight with beloved Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky. The 87-year-old former player and coach, who is commonly referred to as "Mr. Red Sox," said that he was happy to see the Air Force get recognized during the game.

"I think this is wonderful for the fans and the military," Mr. Pesky said. "You get a good feeling for everybody in the military. I get really worked up when I see all of the uniforms. I love to see events like this."

The baseball game was one of numerous Air Force Week New England events. General Akey said that the events have been successful at celebrating the total Air Force.

"We have highlighted the importance, of not only the active Air Force, but our Air National Guard and Air Reserve component," he said. "We have truly shown that we are a total force."

Jim Hamilton, an Army Air Corps veteran, was one of the fans in attendance for the event. The former air traffic controller said that he enjoyed the seeing the Air Force recognized.

"I have always been so proud of the Air Force," he said. "I got a real kick out of all the festivities today and especially enjoyed seeing the planes fly past the stadium."

There was also a flyover and a performance by the ANG's Band of the Northeast at the event.

New England is one of six locations to host an Air Force Week. Air Force Week events reach beyond the normal open house as Airmen reach out to communities of major cities in an effort to highlight the Air Force's role in today's military operations as the service approaches its 60th anniversary.

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