Atlanta Braves celebrate Air Force 60th Birthday

A parachutist from the Air Force Wings of Blue, Air Force Academy presents Brig. Gen. Ric Stevenson, Air Force Reserve vice commander, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and Bobby Cox, manager of the Atlanta Braves with a baseball that was flown around the world.

A parachutist from the Air Force Wings of Blue, U.S. Air Force Academy, presents Brig. Gen. Ric Severson, Air Force Reserve Command assistant vice commander; Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue; and Bobby Cox, manager of the Atlanta Braves, with a baseball that was flown around the world.

ATLANTA -- When the United States Air Force celebrated its 60th birthday in Atlanta at the Braves baseball game at Turner Field on September 18, baseball fans witnessed what announcers called a spectacular evening of parachutes, flyovers, and American spirit. 

The event opened with a jump by the Wings of Blue parachute team from the Air Force Academy. The jumpers landed on various positions of the field carrying the American Flag, a POW/MIA flag and the Air Force Flag. Other jump team members carried colored streamers. The last parachutist carried the Air Force 60th Anniversary/Atlanta Braves baseball that was flown around the world.

"This is terrific," said Maj. Gen. Scott Hammond, Georgia Air National Guard commander. "As commander of more than 3,000 Air National Guard members, it is great to have an organization such as the Braves show such support of our Airmen."

Members of the 94th Airlift Wing, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., the 315th Airlift Wing Charleston AFB, South Carolina, Air Force recruiters and retirees hosted static displays, the Air Force Jet Car and greeted fans as they entered the ball park.

"I'm just proud to be apart of this celebration," said Kent Landers, Atlanta Braves fan.
"It's an honor to salute the Air Force on its 60th birthday. I want to give a special salute to our Georgia based troops."

"I'm excited to be apart of the 60th Anniversary celebration here in Atlanta," said Maj. Gen. Tom Owens, Air Logistics Center commander, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. "I'm just waiting to see what festivities are in store."

The event opened with a jump by parachutists Wings of Blue from the Air Force Academy. The jumpers landed on various positions of the field carrying the American Flag, a POW/MIA flag and the Air Force Flag. Other jump team members carried colored streamers. The last parachutist carried the Air Force 60th Anniversary baseball that was flown around the world.

The baseball was presented to Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, General Hammond, General Owens, Brig. Gen. Ric Stevenson and Bobby Cox, manager of the Atlanta Braves.

Two F-22 fighter aircraft from the 325th fighter squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., performed a flyover during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

"This is a real treat for me," said General Stevenson. "It brings back childhood memories of when I used to watch players like Hank Aaron and Joe Torre."

Fans cheered and gave honor as World War II veterans and Tuskegee Airmen Earl Martin and Hiram Little, entered the stadium.

"Everything is just beautiful," said Earl Martin, member of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., Atlanta Chapter. "I wouldn't have missed this for the world. The hospitality is out of sight."