Hockey, Hoops, and Homeruns

  • Published
  • By Michiko Riley, SSC Public Affairs

Batter up!  In recognition of Veterans Day, the Los Angeles Kings, Dodgers, and Lakers sports teams, honored Airmen and Guardians from Space Systems Command and Space Base Delta 3 with facility tours, free game day tickets, batting practice and more. Veterans Day, celebrated annually on Nov. 11, is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime.

The celebrations kicked-off on Nov. 10 with a tour of the LA Kings training center located within a mile of LA Air Force Base. LA Kings alum Daryl Evans, led 30 guests on a private tour of the facility which included visits to the players’ personal kitchen and lounge area, practice room, and gym. One of the highlights was a pit stop at the locker room where moms and dads took photos of their little ones standing by their favorite players’ locker. 

“I thought the tour was great,” said Master Sgt. Jaclyn Camacho, a member of the SSC’s legal team.

Camacho, along with her spouse Jose who also serves in the military, brought their two children Layla and Noah to share in this unique experience. The family of four are LA Kings fans and enjoyed learning about the team’s activities off the ice. “We’ve been to a couple of games prior so it’s cool to get a behind-the-scenes look at what happens,” said Camacho.

As part of their Salute to Service, the LA Kings also offered 800 free tickets to SSC and SBD3 servicemembers, veterans and their family and friends to watch the Kings take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Veterans Day.

“We hope that they had a joyous moment with friends and family,” said Gabe Gelbard, manager, Community and Hockey Development. “We cannot wait to do more activities in the future!”

LAAFB servicemembers also took their turn at bat during the LA Dodgers Veterans Day Batting Practice. To honor and celebrate veterans for their sacrifice and service, the Dodgers organization invited 300 military members from across the services to Dodger Stadium for an afternoon of tours, batting practice, alumni meet and greet as well as lunch.  

Veterans Day is also an opportunity for military members to share their experience serving in the armed forces with the local community.  LA Laker’s alum Derek Fisher, who coaches Crespi Highschool varsity basketball team, invited SSC Senior Enlisted Lead Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Willie Frazier to speak with players ahead of their Veterans Day scrimmage. Frazier shared his thoughts and wisdom on commitment and what it means to put service before self.

 “We’re very fortunate at Space Systems Command to have opportunities to share our love of space and service with the local community especially our youth,” said Frazier.  “Teamwork is required to accomplish a successful mission whether you’re building new space capabilities for the joint warfighter or preparing for a big weekend basketball matchup. I’m truly glad I had the opportunity to meet with the players on Veterans Day and be a part of their team building efforts.”

Rounding out the Veterans Day events was the annual LA Lakers Hoops for Troops on Nov 15. Camouflage uniforms were exchanged for practice jerseys during a 1-hour basketball clinic on the court.  

Five-time NBA champion, Michael Cooper, and the LA Lakers athletics team, energized troops with basketball drills, motivational quips, feats of friendly competition, and a dance contest. SSC and SBD3 friends and family were also in attendance to cheer on their loved ones, snap photos, and dance from the sidelines. Tickets for SSC and SBD3 members to the LA Lakers versus Sacramento Kings game later that day capped the holiday celebrations. 

“Our community continues to go above and beyond in support of our military members and their families, and this Veterans Day was no exception,” said Col. Mia Walsh, commander, Space Base Delta 3. “Military service is a full-time commitment. The opportunities for Airmen and Guardians to relax and spend time with their family and friends at local sporting events is a thoughtful gift and greatly appreciated.”