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AF celebrates birthday at baseball game

Airmen and senior leaders wave their hats to the crowd at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. The Washington Nationals team members and fans saluted members of the Air Force. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Airmen and senior leaders wave their hats to the crowd at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. The Washington Nationals team members and fans saluted members of the Air Force. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James passes the game ball to Max Scherzer at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. Scherzer is a pitcher on the Washington Nationals baseball team. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James passes the game ball to Max Scherzer at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. Scherzer is a pitcher on the Washington Nationals baseball team. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, an Airman's Medal and Purple Heart recipient, relieves Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III from the pitcher's mound at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. Stone was called to throw the first pitch of the game between the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Hailey Haux)

Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, an Airman's Medal and Purple Heart recipient, relieves Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III from the pitcher's mound at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. Stone was called to throw the first pitch of the game between the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Hailey Haux)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody screams the famous words “play ball” at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. The Washington Nationals hosted a game honoring the Air Force on its birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Hailey Haux)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody screams the famous words “play ball” at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. The Washington Nationals hosted a game honoring the Air Force on its birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Hailey Haux)

The U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants sing the national anthem at Nationals Park in Washington D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. The Washington Nationals hosted a game honoring the Air Force's birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Hailey Haux)

The U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants sing the national anthem at Nationals Park in Washington D.C., Sept. 18, 2015. The Washington Nationals hosted a game honoring the Air Force's birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Hailey Haux)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Airmen throughout the National Capital Region participated in an Air Force birthday celebration at a Washington Nationals baseball game Sept. 19.

Airmen were out in full force at the game celebrating the heritage of Air Force pioneers whose spirit of creativity and innovation grew the service into the modern force it is today. From a live concert by the U.S. Air Force Band’s Max Impact, to an honor guard performance, there wasn’t a dull moment.

“What fun it is to be here at Nationals Park and to be at Air Force night with fantastic Airmen,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, who delivered the game ball. “We’re so grateful to the Washington Nationals because every year they honor us, they invite many of our Airmen and they focus on our important mission -- so we’re very grateful to be here tonight.”

Among the many other festivities, a group of Delayed Entry Program members were sworn in by Gen. Lori Robinson, the Pacific Air Forces commander.

The first pitch was originally going to be thrown by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. As he was standing on the mound, he asked for a relief pitcher, who turned out to be Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, an Airman’s Medal and Purple Heart recipient.

The famous words, “play ball,” were bellowed out by Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, who got the crowd motivated for the start of the game.

“I love baseball, so it’s an honor to be here tonight with my fellow Airmen to support the Air Force for its 68th birthday,” said Senior Airman Gabriel Goldsborough, a member of the Headquarters Air Force Honor Guard. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it’s pretty cool that the Nationals were willing to open their gates to us on our birthday.”

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