Marlins host pre-game Fourth of July joint enlistment ceremony

July 8th, 2024

As part of the Miami Marlins’ Fourth of July festivities at loanDepot park, the Marlins hosted an on-field joint enlistment ceremony with the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). This pre-game ceremony consisted of more than 50 of South Florida’s finest U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine recruits taking the oath of enlistment while standing in center field.

Major General Scott Jackson of the U.S. Army, who administered Thursday’s oath and has been involved with many enlistment ceremonies over the years, believed that this one was extra special.

“To have a chance to recognize [the enlistees] and the start of their careers, particularly on the Fourth of July, the birth of our nation, this is a great confluence of all sorts of great themes,” said Major General Jackson. “It’s a great event on a great stage. Having thousands of people watch someone enlist, what more memorable occasion could you have?”

This sentiment aligns with what Angela Smith, Marlins Senior Director of Community Impact, hoped the event would accomplish.

“For the enlistees, this is a moment that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives, and I think it’s really great to have the backdrop of that memory be loanDepot park,” said Smith. “I think it’s important from a club standpoint that we show our support to young people who are enlisting in the military and make this a special day for them.”

Between the ceremony’s date and setting, a day to remember is exactly what the enlistees received.

“It’s not the average enlistment ceremony,” said Sergio Baldivieso, U.S. Army enlistee. “This is a really great opportunity for us, and I’m really proud to be here. It’s definitely a memory that I’m going to hold dear to myself for a long time.”

Jade Garcia, U.S. Air Force enlistee, added, “It was very inspirational because it’s the Fourth of July, we’re celebrating America, and we got this amazing experience to do this in front of thousands of people and show them that we’re dedicated to fight for our country.”

As Major General Jackson put it, the enlistees “signed a blank check for our nation,” so having the chance to see the immediate impact of doing so was not lost on anyone involved.

“These individuals get to go out [on the field] and feel the full impact of the significance that they have towards the United States,” said Sergeant First Class Reychell Zuniga of the U.S. Army. “What I think they’re going to remember is the faces that they see in the crowd and the emotions that cross those faces. They’re going to see how proud complete strangers are of them and the decision that they made.”

When Garcia reflected on the experience and what her lasting memory will be from the day, Sergeant First Class Zuniga was proven correct.

“It has to be the people celebrating [what we did] and thanking us for our service,” said Garcia. “That was very inspirational because they are thankful that we’re going to do something for our country.”

For Smith and the Marlins, the enlistees getting to experience those feelings is what the event was all about.

“I think it’s important on our nation’s Independence Day to really highlight our military and give our fans the opportunity to show their appreciation and celebrate the men and women that serve our country,” she said.