2024 So Others May Live Tour: Player Spotlight – Bryan Witt

Bryan Witt US Military War Dogs Baseball
Bryan Witt US Military War Dogs Baseball

A Home Run for a Higher Purpose

As the crack of the bat echoes through the air, SFC Bryan Witt’s eyes light up with a sense of purpose and passion. For this Army veteran, playing baseball is not just about hitting home runs or winning games; it’s about serving something greater than himself. When Bryan joined the US Military Warogs, he was already a seasoned athlete. Bryan had always loved playing baseball, but it wasn’t until he donned the uniform of the WarDogs that he felt truly fulfilled.

“I played in several amateur and men’s leagues around the country before joining the WarDogs,” Bryan recalls. “But this organization is different. It’s not just about playing ball; it’s about serving a higher purpose.”

For Bryan, that higher purpose is honoring Gold Star families and their loved ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. As a member of the WarDogs, he has had the privilege of participating in ceremonies that pay tribute to these heroes and their families. Playing alongside fellow veterans and active duty members from all branches of the military. Together, they have formed a bond that goes beyond just being teammates; it’s a brotherhood of warriors who share a common purpose.

“It’s an incredible feeling. The players and staff don’t do this for baseball. Baseball is just our way of connecting. We do this because we are patriots who love our communities.”

“It’s not about winning or losing, it is about serving together and honoring those who have served before us.”

As Bryan takes the field with his WarDogs teammates, he knows that he is part of something bigger than himself. He is part of a team that is dedicated to serving their communities and honoring the sacrifices of America’s heroes.
In the end, it’s not just about hitting home runs or winning games, it is about hitting the ball out of the park for a higher purpose. For SFC Bryan Witt and the Wardogs Baseball organization, that higher purpose is serving something greater than themselves, and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

In partnership with our brothers and sisters at Operation Encore. You can view our schedule and tour dates HERE.
Click HERE to donate today!

2024 So Others May Live Tour: Player Spotlight – Brandon McCoy

Brandon McCoy US Military War Dogs Baseball
Brandon McCoy US Military War Dogs Baseball

A Leader on and Off the Field: Brandon McCoy’s Unwavering Commitment to Service and Baseball

Meet Brandon McCoy, a 15-year veteran of the military who has served with distinction in both the Navy Reserve and Army Reserve. Currently, he serves as a recruiter in Wichita, Kansas, where he is dedicated to inspiring others to follow in his footsteps. But what may surprise you is that Brandon’s passion for baseball is just as strong as his commitment to service. From playing tee-ball at 5 years old to walking onto the University of Houston-Downtown team in 2009, Brandon has been a ballplayer at heart. He’s continued to play throughout leagues in various cities, including Houston, San Antonio, Northwest Arkansas, Kentucky/Indiana, and South New Jersey. In fact, Brandon was part of the MSBL World Series in Phoenix in 2018, and he even had the privilege of playing with the U.S. Military All-Stars in 2019. His experience with the All-Stars was a blast, but when they went dormant, Brandon didn’t let that stop him from continuing to play baseball while representing the Army.

As a recruiter, Brandon is dedicated to furthering the off-the-field mission of the military. He understands that service isn’t just about putting in time, it’s about making a difference in the lives of those around you. And that’s exactly what he does. Brandon has also been an integral part of the US Military Wardogs whose mission is simple: to bring people together through the game of baseball, while giving back to veterans and their families. With Brandon on board, the Wardogs are unstoppable, and his commitment to their cause is just as strong as his dedication to serving others.

Throughout his career, Brandon has accumulated an impressive array of awards and badges, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Master Recruiter Badge, to name just a few. But what’s most impressive is not just the list of accolades; it’s the kind of person Brandon is. He’s a true servant-leader who puts others before himself. He understands that leadership isn’t about taking credit or seeking recognition; it’s about inspiring and serving those around you. And that’s exactly what he does every day as a recruiter.

So here’s to Brandon McCoy, a true servant and leader, and an avid ballplayer. May his story inspire others to follow in his footsteps, and may his passion for baseball continue to bring joy to all those around him.

In partnership with our brothers and sisters at Operation Encore. You can view our schedule and tour dates HERE.
Click HERE to donate today!

2024 So Others May Live Tour: Player Spotlight – Andre Vappie

Andre Vappie US Military War Dogs Baseball
Andrew Vappie US Military War Dogs Baseball

A Story of Service, Sacrifice, and Baseball

After dedicating 20 years to serving his country in the United States Army, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Andre Vappie returned home and faced challenges common among veterans. Despite difficulties replicating the sense of purpose and belonging he had during military service, Andre found solace in his lifelong passion for baseball, which ignited at age six. He played throughout high school and even tried out as a walk-on player at Nicholls State University before joining the Army. During his first two years of service, Andre played semi-pro ball for the Watertown Indians in upstate New York. After retiring from the Army in 2018, he discovered War Dogs Baseball, a team comprised of veterans like himself who share a deep appreciation for baseball and the bonds forged through military service.

“I’ve always loved being part of a team, but I also wanted to play with individuals who have walked the same journey that I have in serving our country. The War Dogs give me the opportunity to do both.”

This community of veterans and service members understands the unique challenges and experiences that come with military service, finding fellowship, support, and belonging through their shared love of baseball. For Andre, playing with the War Dogs is not only a way to stay connected to his fellow service members but also a means to give back to his community.

The War Dogs’ story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of sports in bridging gaps between different walks of life, especially for those who have served their country. While baseball may be just a game to some, it represents a connection to fellow service members and a way to give back for veterans like Andre. As we celebrate the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes, let us not forget the importance of providing them with opportunities to heal, grow, and connect with one another. This a shining example being of US Military War Dogs’ commitment to fostering community and belonging through sports.

In partnership with our brothers and sisters at Operation Encore. You can view our schedule and tour dates HERE.
Click HERE to donate today!

WarDogs Honor Veteran at NABA World Series

Last week, the US Military WarDogs took the field in the annual National Adult Baseball Association World Series in Phoenix, Arizona.

Amateur adult baseball teams from all over the United States travel to Arizona to play in the tournament.  The NABA World Series provides players and teams the unique opportunity to experience playing baseball on spring training fields of Major League Baseball teams.

Despite the glamor of the fields and the spirit of competition, the WarDogs made it clear what we represent, honoring and recognizing our Veterans.  On the opening day of the tournament, the WarDogs National team had the honor and privilege to meet with an American Veteran hero, three-time Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient Mr. William Talcott.  Aside from meeting with WarDog national team members, Mr. Talcott was also honored pregame while throwing out the first pitch prior to the WarDog’s first tournament game.

“Last night was great because I was able to spend time with America’s finest. Wonderful young men. I felt honored to be among them.” – Bill Talcott

Talcott, William R. (Bill)

Public Information

NameTalcott, William R. (Bill)
Class2016
BiographyBorn in Highland Park, Michigan in 1944, Bill Talcott served in Vietnam and stateside, 1968-1971. An Army Ranger, he led a reconnaissance platoon with the 82nd Airborne receiving three Bronze Stars, two for Valor, and the Purple Heart. After forty years in the employee benefits industry, Bill retired as a successful sales manager. A Legacy Life Member of VFW Post 9400, Phoenix, Bill has served as Youth Activities Chairman helping underprivileged children; as Buddy Poppy Chairman raising $40,000 annually for veteran causes; and as Hospital Chairman, initiating monthly entertainment and donations for hospitalized veterans. As Founder of Post 9400’s Cootie Pup Tent 11, his organization has donated over $100,000 to help hospitalized veterans. Having contributed over 3,000 volunteer hours representing Guest Services at the VA Medical Center Phoenix, Bill was honored as “Phoenix VA Volunteer of the Year, 2015.

 

The WarDogs will continue to recognize and NEVER FORGET our Veteran brothers and sisters in our communities.

Never Forget our Military. Never Forget our Veterans. Never Forget our Fallen.

Rockies Game With The Denver VA

 

On Thursday September 22nd, the Denver WarDogs were able to attend a Colorado Rockies game with patients and friends from the Eastern Colorado VA hospital. Four WarDogs players accompanied 8 Veterans and VA representatives to the afternoon game.

As the group took in the game, conversations amongst the players and other Veterans spanned from military service, to love of baseball and everything in between. It was a great opportunity for our players to give back to our Brothers and Sisters who sacrificed so much for our Nation.

 

Josh Combs, WarDogs COO and Denver Coach had this to say about the event:

 

“It was incredible to see how organic the conversations were between our guys and the folks from the VA. Baseball represents a sense of normalcy for everybody involved, and to be able to connect like this while taking in a game and growing personal networks like everybody did is one of the reasons we formed the WarDogs.”

The event was put on in conjunction with the Eastern Colorado VA’s Recreational Therapy group. The Rec Therapy group uses a range of activities to help meet the physical and emotional needs of patients with varying ranges of physical and/or emotional disabilities in order to help them develop skills for daily living.

The event itself was an incredible success with friendships formed and bonds created; the bigger take-away for the WarDogs in attendance was in discovering other ways to give back and support other Veterans currently utilizing the VA. Members of the team were able to connect with other volunteer coordinators at the VA and are hopeful for long term partnerships and opportunities to support our Brother and Sisters.

If you are interested in volunteering with the VA, please visit www.volunteer.va.gov.

Never Forget our Military. Never Forget our Veterans. Never Forget our Fallen.

WarDogs Visit Hope For the Warriors, Camp LeJeune

The US Military WarDogs took a trip to Camp LeJune, NC earlier this week to visit the Hope for the Warriors headquarters and deliver 30 shadow boxes containing the Fallen Heroes jerseys worn by WarDogs players during the SummerBall Showdown in Goddard, Kansas in August.

Each shadow box displayed a Fallen Heroes jersey with the name of the a Fallen service member on the back as well as a Hope for the Warriors and WarDogs patch.  The WarDogs are honored and humbled to represent those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in front of the WarDogs patriotic fans and supporters.

Hope for the Warriors is a proud partner of US Military WarDog Baseball and was instrumental in supporting the creation of the Fallen Hero uniforms.  Now that Hope has the jerseys and shadowboxes, they will be sending them to each of the families of the fallen that were represented.

Players and coaches from Norfolk and from the newly formed Camp LeJeune WarDogs team were present to hand over the displayed jerseys.  One of those present from the newly formed WarDogs LeJune was player/coach Gunnery Sgt Josh McNeil.

 

“It was great experience and I’m glad I got to meet the Hope for the Warriors representatives; hopefully we will be able to connect a lot more with them now that the Camp LeJune team has formed.” – Josh McNeil, Player/Coach Camp LeJeune WarDogs, Marine

 

The WarDogs will be working with Hope for the Warriors later this week as we recognize a Veteran dealing with PTSD at the NABA Worlds tournament being held in Phoenix, AZ.

Never Forget our Military. Never Forget our Veterans. Never Forget our Fallen.

WarDogs Bring Military Twist To Youth Combines

On August 6th and 7th, during the SummerBall Showdown, the US Military WarDogs hosted two youth baseball combines for the city of Goddard and surrounding communities.  Between the two events, over 70 youth from ages 7-11 participated in the WarDogs combines. Many of the kids that participated had parents serving on active duty or who were veterans.

 

The WarDogs, comprised of military baseball players from all branches of the service, added their own style to create a competitive and fun experience for the youth during these combines. This year, the combine consisted of four events.  Each event was associated with one of the military branches.  Air Force Jets: Fastest time around the bases; Navy Cannons: Longest throw; Marine Sniper: Accuracy of throws; and Army Dropping Bombs: Home Run Derby.

 

 

All of the players on the US Military WarDogs National Team were involved in the coordination of the combine events and provided positive guidance towards the children during the combine.  They offered small glimpses to the youth of what it is like being in the military and playing baseball.

As the combine was being conducted the WarDogs made it a point to include the parents into the fun.  Each child was asked, “If you could pick a military branch, which one would you want to be a part of?”  Some of the kids would go into detail about why they chose what they chose.  Midway through the combine, the parents were told what their kid(s) gave as their answer.

 

“I remember going through the names and answers of the kids and hearing active military or veteran parents laughing or sighing depending on the answer they heard.  For example, when a child of an Army family chose to be in the Navy, I could hear the parents sigh in disbelief.” – Todd Nieuwenhuis, Co-Founder and Chief Baseball Officer for the WarDogs. 

 

Even parents that were not in the military would laugh because they felt their child’s answer perfectly described their personality.

 

Nieuwenhuis went on to say, “It was no surprise that when I read off Air Force as one of the answers, one of the parents would say, “now that one is smart”.  

Overall, the parents and kids had a great time interacting with the Wardogs coaches and players before, during, and after the event.

 

It was the BEST experience for not only my son but my husband and I as well.  You guys are beyond amazing for all you did!” – Lisa Mason, parent of youth participant.

 

 

“I want to thank everyone that was there for the awesome time my son Brady had.  He came home with a bat, shirt, and hat that he is super proud of.  This was such an awesome experience for him and I thank you guys so much!!”. – Heather Bannister, parent of youth participant.

 

 

The WarDogs overall objective in providing these youth combines is to provide the youth in the community with an experience interacting with current and past military service members while having fun with their other kids on the baseball field.

“We always try to incorporate this type of an event when we bring our national team together.  It is important for our youth to know and understand our military and history that we are a part of”.  – Bruce Jazwinski, Founder, Chief Executive Officer.

For the city of Goddard and the surrounding communities, the WarDogs hope to be back next year and make it an even better experience for the youth and their families.  Please donate to help us provide opportunities for the youth to experience a fun and meaningful event with our current and past military members.

 

Never Forget our Military. Never Forget our Veterans. Never Forget our Fallen.

HONORING OUR FALLEN

NEVER FORGET OUR FALLEN, one of the mission statements for the US Military WarDogs was on full display during the SummerBall Showdown in Goddard, Kansas.

The WarDogs partnered with Hope for the Warriors to honor 30 Fallen Service members and their families during a ceremony prior to one of the games at the SBS on August 5th, 2022.

The US Military WarDogs showcased a memorial uniform, created by Under Armour and supported by Denver Athletics. The jerseys were adorned with the names of the 30 Fallen on their back, a special Hope for the Warriors patch and oversized American flag.

The ceremony was highlighted by the attendance of the family of fallen service member, Luke Boatright. During the ceremony, the WarDogs conducted a flag folding ceremony that was given to the Boatright family along with other special recognition.

While wearing a jersey representing Luke Boatright, Eddie Ihnken, one of the captains of the Wardogs, presented the Boatright family with the folded flag used during the ceremony.

“I was honored to represent Luke Boatright and his family out on the baseball field that day. It started with receiving the special blue WarDogs jersey with his name on the back and it gave me the chills. I knew that by wearing this jersey meant I had to leave my best game out on the diamond.” – Eddie Ihnken, WarDogs Player, Coast Guard.

Ihnken would continue to represent Boatright and his family by wearing the memorial jersey throughout the subsequent game.

The WarDogs continued to honor Luke Boatright by reading a short bio that provided all in attendance a sense of his commitment to service and his family.

“As I was listening to Luke’s bio, I looked over at the college players who were toeing the third base line.  I noticed that one of the players had tears in his eyes which showed me the importance of what it is we are doing.” – Bryan Witt, WarDogs Player, Army.

The ceremonies that the US Military WarDogs conduct during special events and games, are a part of the reason the organization was created.  The WarDogs will continue to ensure that our service members are never forgotten, especially the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The following are the names of the 30 Fallen the WarDogs honored at the SummerBall Showdown: Names provided by Hope for the Warriors: www.hopeforthewarriors.org.

BOATRIGHT                 LETENDRE                  DIXON III

BENITEZ                       HALL JR.                      SMITH

HERNANDEZ III            VANCE JR.                   CINTRON

BYRD                             FLORES                       STOBAUGH

KOCH                            PHILLIPS JR.                SCHWARZ

CAMPBELL                  QUINTANA                   WEST

POKORNEY JR.             ROBERTS                    HUNTER

VILLATORO                  STODDARD                 KEVIANNE

SILVERMAN                  MURPHY                      OJEDA

STIFTER                        ADAMS                        JACKSON

 

The Strength of our Fallen brothers and sisters stands with us and will forever, never be forgotten.

Never Forget our Military. Never Forget our Veterans. Never Forget our Fallen.

US Military WarDogs National Team at the SummerBall Showdown

The US Military WarDogs national team recently competed in the annual SummerBall Showdown in Goddard, Kansas.  This was the WarDogs second year in the tournament, and the team showed incredible growth and competitiveness against high level collegiate and independent baseball clubs that traveled from around in the US to compete in the tournament.

During the WarDogs first game of the tournament, they were matched against the PSCL Select team out of California.  Although a very close and hard fought game, PSCL was able to hold of the WarDogs, winning 8-6 in nine innings.

On the second day of games, the WarDogs played the Dirtbag Baseball team. The Dirtbags, who would go on to with the entire SBS tournament, were victorious in this game as well, by a score of 7-3.

The WarDogs final game of the tournament had them matched against the 316 Baseball Club.  Unfortunately, 316 Baseball handled the WarDogs national team, winning by a score of 12-3.

Despite not advancing to the second round of the playoffs, the entire WarDogs team was honored to be able to represent our Military, Veterans, and Fallen on a national stage.  The team came away from the tournament more motivated than ever to be back next year.

Ricky Orellanes, one of many new players on the WarDogs national team, had this to say of the SBS: “We’re winning this next year, I’ve got the boys hyped!”  Orellanes was honored and humbled to represent US service members on the baseball field, and walked away from the experience ready to come back in 2023.

Of the players representing the WarDogs in the SBS tournament, 19 were Active Military and 5 were Veterans.  All branches of the U.S. Military, which include Army, AirForce, SpaceForce, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, were represented within the ranks of the 2023 national team.  Kenny Kirker, an active Navy servicemember, flew all the way from Bahrain to be part of the WarDogs.

Although the WarDogs strive to compete and win, the WarDogs do more than just playing baseball.  During the tournament, the WarDogs conducted an on field flag ceremony before one of the games to honor 30 Fallen Heroes.  During the flag ceremony, one of the families of a fallen servicemember was presented a folded American flag in honor of their loved one.  Beyond the Flag Ceremony, the WarDogs also hosted two youth combine events, allowing local Goddard youth the opportunity to get on the field, and participate in baseball drills with WarDogs players and coaches.

Never Forget our Military. Never Forget our Veterans. Never Forget our Fallen

Denver US Military WarDogs All-Stars Shine Even In The Rain

On Tuesday July 26th, three WarDogs were selected to represent the Denver

Wardogs team in the Denver NABA All-Star Game at Riverdale Ridge High

School.  Ryan Arsenault (C, 1B), TJ Howton (OF), and Noah Wunder (Utl, P)

were selected to play under the lights by the Denver coaching staff based

on both on-field performance as well as embodying the WarDogs mission,

vision, and values.  Although the team ended up losing the ASG 7-3, all

three Wardogs saw significant playing time on Tuesday, including Wunder

throwing an impressive five pitch, 3 out inning.  Congrats to Arsenault,

Howton, and Wunder on a great season so far, and the awesome honor of

representing the WarDogs organization.

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