SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Padres conducted their annual Navy Appreciation Day at Petco Park June 23, as a tribute to all Sailors serving in the San Diego area.
More than 80 Sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59), Combat Camera Pacific, Naval Base San Diego and Naval Special Warfare were invited onto the field to line up along the base paths as part of the opening ceremony.
As the color guard paraded the colors on the field, the Sailors stood at attention and saluted while Navy Band Southwest played the national anthem.
Following the national anthem, Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, Commander, Navy Region Southwest, was invited onto the field to throw the ceremonial first pitch.
Sailors from Naval Special Warfare then took the field and met with players from the Padres before the game started.
"The Padres organization has always been exceptional at recognizing San Diego County's military," said Smith. "I just want to thank the Padres."
Sailors and family members in the San Diego area received free tickets to the game courtesy of Navy Region Southwest Morale Welfare and Recreation. Military in uniform can receive 50% off any available tickets at all Sunday regular season home games in 2013.