Team March Stands Proud on Petco Park Field

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Gross
  • 452 AMW Public Affairs

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 452nd Air Mobility Wing and 163rd Attack Wing, participated in pre-game activities for the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team on May 5, as part of the team’s annual Air Force Day. Airmen stood at attention along the base lines and rendered salutes during the national anthem, and a selected few were lucky enough to take the field as part of the “starting nine” to meet players and get autographed balls before the game began.


In a dawn of new tradition, 452 AMW Commander Col. Melissa Coburn, March Field’s first female base commander in its 101-year-history, piloted a C-17 Globemaster III over PETCO Park during the national anthem. Coburn is also the first female commander to complete a flyover in the history of the Padres’ tribute to the Air Force.


“We are a big wing and a busy wing (and) it’s nice to be able to take a break to be out here and support the Padres,” said Coburn. “It is an honor and a privilege to be the first female to perform a flyover for the Padres. In giving back to our communities, my hope is that I am able to lead by example and build ever-lasting relationships with civic leadership, which in-turn will create a path of support and communication for those who come after me.”


“Being part of a history-making flight is always a plus,” said Lt. Col. John Cortney, 729th Airlift Squadron director of staff, and C-17 co-pilot during the flyover. “But, for a native San Diegan and Padres fan, this is unreal; a dream come true!”


At the conclusion of the national anthem, Fourth Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Randall Ogden, who practiced before he departed the base, successfully delivered the first pitch to the Padres’ pitcher to signal the start of the game.


Additionally, the Airmen on the ground felt a sense of patriotism as the aircraft passed over. “It was amazing,” said Tech. Sgt. Miriam Peraza, 163 ATKW. “I’ve never been in the center of the field, and this experience made me feel a great sense of pride while representing the Air Force.”


On Air Force Day, the Padres include Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets, Civil Air Patrol, and Air Force veterans in the pre-game activities as well.


Once the game started, participating Airmen, along with their families, were able to enjoy it compliments of the Padres.