Team MacDill and Tampa Bay Rays continue longstanding partnership

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

As part of the player development program, members of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball organization visited MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, on Jan. 18, 2017.

Each year the Rays welcome newly drafted players to the team. As part of helping them integrate, the organization arranges a tour to provide them a glimpse into how Team MacDill carries out its mission and the partnership it has established with the Rays organization.

“We expose our up and coming minor league prospects to the military to show them teamwork in action,” said Dick Crippen, the senior advisor with the Rays. “Also, to let them see that there are those their age and younger who are fighting to preserve our freedoms.”

During the tour, the Rays’ rookies visited the parachute riggers. There they viewed how personnel meticulously pack parachutes and also received hands-on jump training in a parachute simulator.

“I liked jumping,” said Brett Sullivan, a catcher with the Rays. “Being able to see from that perspective was awesome.”

Next, they then visited what is routinely a highlight for base tours at MacDill—a KC-135 Stratotanker static display. The rookies boarded the aircraft to tour the inside and learn how pilots and crewmembers work together to support MacDill’s aerial refueling mission.

To conclude the visit, the Rays rookies observed a military working dog demonstration. Dog handlers from the 6th Security Forces Squadron demonstrated some of the techniques they use to train their canines, as well as some of the scenarios they can potentially encounter and how each would be handled.

“It’s fun to do things like this and see what they do for a living,” said Josh Lowe, a rookie third baseman with the Rays. “They protect us so we can play our game, have fun and live in peace every single day.”