WWII veteran to throw out first pitch before Dodger game

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A sailor who served aboard the USS Sailfish submarine during World War II will throw the ceremonial first pitch before Monday night’s Los Angeles Dodgers-Pittsburgh Pirates game at Dodger Stadium as part of the military appreciation night.

William Dillion served in five major Pacific War patrols on the Sailfish, earning nine battle stars. The Sargo-class submarine was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its outstanding performance during its 10th patrol, from November 1943 to January 1944, which included the sinking of the Japanese Taiyo-class escort carrier Chuyo.

The sailboat was originally called Squalus. As Squalus, the submarine sank off the coast of New Hampshire during test dives in 1939, drowning 26 crew members and saving 33 others.

The Sailfish was decommissioned on October 27, 1945 and her hulk was sold for scrap. Her turret stands at the Portsmouth Dockyard in Kittery, Maine, where she was built, in remembrance of her lost crew members.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Darryl Hensley, director of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Junior ROTC program, will be honored at the Military Hero of the Game. He joined the Army in 1983, deployed to Camp Casey in South Korea in 1984, Afghanistan in 2003, and Iraq in 2009 and 2010. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

As with all Memorial Day games not played by 3 p.m. local time, a minute’s silence will be observed before the national anthem. The games that were in progress at 3 p.m. were halted for the National Moment of Remembrance, established in a bill signed into law in 2000 by then-President Bill Clinton.

The National Moment of Remembrance was first held on Memorial Day in 2000 under a proclamation by Clinton in an effort to “reclaim Memorial Day as the noble event it was meant to be, to honor those who died in service of our nation”.

At all Memorial Day games, all MLB personnel on the field – players, managers, coaches and umpires – wear the traditional red Memorial Day poppy on the left side of their jerseys with the language “Lest We Forget” connected.

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