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Press Advisory


Release No: 067-03
June 12, 2003

Operation Tribute to Freedom Flag Day Activities

Operation Tribute to Freedom is an opportunity for all Americans to show their appreciation to our troops as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Defense launched this initiative on Memorial Day and will be marking Flag Day with the following events.

In celebration of our troops coming home from supporting the war in Iraq, the Department of Defense, through the Major Baseball League Association, is presenting flags flown at the Pentagon to the Seattle Mariners, Oakland A's, Anaheim Angels, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox.

The flags will fly at the respective stadiums on Flag Day, June 14th. Also on that day, Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff will throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium at 3:05 p.m. EDT.

In the world of soccer, the D.C. United soccer team will honor and recognize 50 service members and give kick-off honors to Army National Guard Maj. Marvin Jones on Saturday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium. A Naval color guard will present the colors and Spc. Rosalyn Bennett will sing the national anthem. A fly-over from the 113th Wing of the Air National Guard will conclude the opening ceremonies. Halftime events will include a special performance from the U.S. Navy's Ceremonial Drill Team.

N.Y. Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Robert Gruber, Army Staff Sgt. Jeff McDonald, Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Lamonica, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Sondra Ashton-Jones, Marine Corps Sgt. Richard Batista, and Coast Guard Marine Science Technician 2nd Class George P. Sampson, will ring the opening bell Friday, June 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the American Stock Exchange.

Gruber serves as the Air National Guard assistant to the Air Force Judge Advocate General, and McDonald is assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, Fort Drum, N.Y. and is a combat veteran of Operation Anaconda. Lamonica is assigned to 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope AFB, N.C. and is a combat veteran of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. Batista is assigned to 6th Communication Battalion, Brooklyn, N.Y. and served during Operation Iraqi Freedom supporting British forces. Ashton-Jones is assigned to Naval Security Group Activity, Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Conn. She was selected as the Navy New London Shore Sailor of the Year. Sampson is assigned to the Environmental Protection Branch, US Coast Guard Activities New York as a Pollution Investigator, Facility Inspector and Federal On-scene Coordinator's Representative.

The Army is celebrating its 228th birthday this year and is saluting the 226th Flag Day with their own celebrations. More information on Army activities can be found at http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php?story_id_key=1213 .

Also as part of Flag Day celebrations across the country, there will be military bands performing at many community events. The Army Band's schedules can be found at http://bands.army.mil/default.asp . Other band performances will be available at the following web site: http://www.defendamerica.mil/otf/events/index.html . [Link no longer available]

For more information, go to http://www.defendamerica.mil/otf/index.html . Press kits on Operation Tribute to Freedom are available to download on the same site.

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