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Armed Forces Appreciation Day

General Pregame/Game Info

The Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota National Guard announced plans for the 17th annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day, presented by Thomson Reuters, will honor veterans and active service members from all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. This year’s event, which will be held in conjunction with the Twins’ Sunday, September 6 game vs. the Detroit Tigers at Target Field, will once again celebrate military members past, present and future.

With fans not at the ballpark, the Twins, in partnership with FOX Sports North and the Treasure Island Baseball Network, will deliver this salute to Minnesota’s military directly to fans across Twins Territory. The FOX Sports North pregame show begins at 12:30 p.m., with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

All pre- and in-game elements were pre-recorded using proper safety protocols. These ceremonies will focus on four main themes and will include the following:

Honoring the Past – Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II

Seventy-five years ago this week, on September 2, 1945, World War II officially came to an end. To honor the heroism and valor of “The Greatest Generation,” the Twins will recognize WWII veterans throughout the game:

The initial ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Private First Class Mickey Nelson, who celebrated his 100th birthday this year by completing a 100-mile walk this summer that, to date, has raised more than $100,000 for the Salvation Army; money that will be spent, per Mickey’s request, to feed people in need. The Clarks Grove, Minnesota native and U.S. Army veteran served in an armored division as a tank mechanic during World War II. Mickey taped his first pitch from Hayek Field in Albert Lea.

The American flag will be raised by Seaman Second Class Richard Sheibe, who entered the U.S. Navy at 17 years of age and served on the USS Pasadena in the South Pacific from 1946 to 1948, before serving as an active reservist as a firefighter and engineer from 1948 to 1953. Seaman Schiebe is joined by World War II and other veterans outside the Minneapolis Veterans Home.

The Twins will honor nine Minnesotans that heroically served during World War II with individual vignettes – one per inning. These tributes will run on the Target Field scoreboard, on the Treasure Island Baseball Network, and on Twins and FOX Sports North digital outlets.

Saluting the Present – Recognizing troops at home and abroad

In deep appreciation for the continued sacrifice of today’s military and their families, the Twins will celebrate service members throughout Twins Territory, including the many who are currently deployed around the world:

A secondary ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Lieutenant Commander Mirna Rowe, a reservist in the U.S. Navy with 28 years of service, including a 15-month mobilization to Afghanistan in 2008, and a senior director with Thomson Reuters.

The National Anthem will be performed by the 34th Infantry Division “Red Bull” Band. Officially organized on April 30, 1900, the 34th Infantry Division Band has proudly served our state and nation for over 120 years and has seen service in World War I, World War II and the Global War on Terrorism.

A series of 20-plus “shout-outs” from deployed Minnesota National Guard members, to be played in-ballpark, on the FOX Sports North telecast and throughout the Treasure Island Baseball Network, will help to celebrate troops currently serving in the Middle East (34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade), in Africa (2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry) and on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (34th Military Police Company).

Remembering the Fallen – Honoring those who died in service

The Twins are forever grateful to those brave women and men who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their life in service of our communities, our state or our country. The organization will pay tribute to those who have recently passed:

As per Armed Forces Appreciation Day tradition, the Twins will share an in memoriam video and hold a moment of silence to remember those in the Minnesota military whom we have lost during the past year. This year’s remembrance will also honor the memory of Officer Cody Holte, a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, a 1st Lieutenant in the North Dakota National Guard, a lifelong Twins fan and a member of the Grand Forks Police Department, who was shot and killed while responding to a call on May 29.

A pregame flyover will feature helicopters from the St.Cloud and St.Paul-based 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade in an homage to the three Minnesota National Guard members who lost their lives during a December 5, 2019 training accident near St. Cloud (also to be honored during the in memoriam video): Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Rogers, Jr., Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles Nord and Warrant Officer Candidate Kort Platnenberg.

Serving Those in Need – 2020 Major League Baseball Military Grants

During the 2020 season, Major League Baseball is providing each club with a military grant for local support of programs that benefit service members, veterans and military families; the Twins are splitting these funds evenly between two local organizations:

The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV), a St. Paul-based nonprofit aiming to ensure that every veteran in Minnesota has access to services and support to avoid homelessness and achieve sustainable housing, will be recognized through a video highlighting their commitment to this important issue.

The United Heroes League (UHL), a Hastings-based nonprofit which keeps military kids healthy and active through sports by providing gear, camps, grants and special experiences, will be recognized through Sunday’s Play Ball Kid: 10-year-old Eli Federly of Medford, Minnesota, whose father, Joshua Federly, recently returned from a year-long deployment and has served for 18 years combined with the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army.

Additional Elements

God Bless America will be performed during the 7th inning stretch by the Thomson Reuters MSP Chorale.

Deployed MN National Guard Shout Outs

Vignettes to Honor WWII Heroes from MN

Willibald C. Bianchi, New Ulm, MN (3/12/1915 - 1/9/1945) 1st Lieutenant, Philippine Scouts, 45th Infantry, US Army •	US Medal of Honor Recipient •	Led rifle platoon against two enemy machine gun strongholds •	Suffered four bullet wounds to hands and chest before mounting American tank and firing its anti-aircraft machinegun into enemy territory
Mike Colalillo, Hibbing, MN (12/2/1925 - 12/30/2011) Private First Class, Company C, 398th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division, US Army •	Medal of Honor Recipient •	Colalillo inspired his fellow soldiers as he left cover and charged forward into heavy enemy artillery, mortar, and submachinegun fire. •	Climbed an unmanned allied tank and started firing the mounted machinegun into enemy strongholds.
Henry Alexius Courtney Jr., Duluth, MN (1/16/1916 – 5/15/1945) Major 2nd Bn., 22nd Marines, 6th Marine Division, US Marine Corps.  •	Medal of Honor Recipient  •	Major Courtney led a highly dangerous night mission on the island of Okinawa Shima against Japanese forces on May 14th, 1945 •	Successfully executed an immediate Marine assault to overtake Sugar Loaf Hill in the dark of night
Richard Fleming, St. Paul, MN (11/2/1917 – 6/5/1942) Captain, Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 241, US Marine Corps Reserves •	Captain Fleming was an exceptional glide and dive bombing specialist •	Received the US Medal of Honor for his courageous acts at the Battle of Midway on June 4th and 5th, 1942 •	Fleming led his division with fearless determination and brought severe damage to the Japanese fleet
Louis James Hauge Jr., Ada, MN (12/12/1924 – 5/14/1945) Corporal, Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, Marine Division, US Marine Corps •	Cpl. Hauge was awarded the US Medal of Honor for his solo efforts on the island of Okinawa Shima on May 14th, 1945 •	Charged the enemy alone, with only grenades as weapons •	Placed his grenades with astonishing precision, completely wiping out two enemy strongholds •	Cpl. Hauge is the reason his company was able to advance on the enemy and win a key battle on Okinawa
Lloyd C. Hawks, Becker, MN (1/13/1911 – 10/26/1953) Private First Class, Medical Detachment, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, US Army •	Pfc. Hawks showed extreme courage to save the lives of three fellow soldiers during a battle in Carano, Italy on January 30th, 1944 •	After taking multiple bullets to his hip and forearm, Hawks successfully dragged three wounded men to cover and was able to retreat to his company •	Hawks was awarded the US Medal of Honor as a result of his heroic actions
Lt. William “Bill” McGowan, Benson, MN (7/26/1920 - 6/6/1944) US Air Force •	McGowan’s father started the Benson Swift County Monitor-News •	Attended the University of Missouri for journalism and returned home to edit his father’s newspaper •	Enlisted in the US Air Force in 1943 and became a fighter pilot  •	Led the charge for Allied Forces on the infamous D-Day, flying over the beach of Normandy on June 6th, 1944.
Francis “Hack” Nierengarten, St. Joseph, MN (9/2/1919 - Present) Corporal, 8th Airforce Division, US Air Force •	Pitched for St. John's University in 1940 and 1941  •	In his first ever military baseball appearance, Nierengarten threw a perfect game AND hit for the cycle •	Served as a Corporal in the US Air Force from 1942-195 and was stationed in England, France, and Germany •	“Hack” celebrated his 101st birthday on September 2nd
Donald E. Rudolph, Minneapolis, MN (2/21/1921 - 5/25/2006) 2nd Lieutenant, Company E, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Division, US Army •	Lt. Rudolph received the US Medal of Honor for his selfless and courageous actions during battle on the Philippine Islands in February of 1945 •	It is estimated that Lt. Rudolph is responsible for seizing 7 or more enemy pillboxes, immobilizing an enemy tank, and killing potentially more than 10 enemy soldiers, all in one day •	His leadership and courage resulted in one of the most decisive victories of the Philippine campaign