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Arizona Diamondbacks slide into base for prayer breakfast

Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, Stephen Drew, 13-year Major League Baseball veteran Tony Graffanino, and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher, Ian Kennedy, share their personal stories of faith with members of the 162nd Fighter Wing Feb. 12 during a prayer breakfast at Tucson International Airport. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Hollie Hansen)

Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, Stephen Drew, 13-year Major League Baseball veteran Tony Graffanino, and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher, Ian Kennedy, share their personal stories of faith with members of the 162nd Fighter Wing Feb. 12 during a prayer breakfast at Tucson International Airport. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Hollie Hansen)

Tony Graffanino, a 13-year Major League Baseball veteran, recieves instruction on military bearing just for fun Feb 12. Tech. Sgt. Annie Jaramillo shows no mercy to new recruits – regardless of their background. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Angela Walz)

Tony Graffanino, a 13-year Major League Baseball veteran, recieves instruction on military bearing just for fun Feb 12. Tech. Sgt. Annie Jaramillo shows no mercy to new recruits – regardless of their background. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Angela Walz)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The 162nd Fighter Wing Chaplain's office hosted two members of the Arizona Diamondbacks professional baseball team, the team's chaplain and a retired Major League Baseball player during the wing's annual prayer breakfast held at Tucson International Airport here Feb. 12.

Stephen Drew and Ian Kennedy, both members of the 2011 National League West Championship team, signed autographs, posed for photographs, and spoke at the fund-raiser breakfast. Retired player Tony Graffanino and the Diamondback's chaplain, Brian Hommel, also attended and offered words of encouragement to wing members.

"We just want to say thank you and let you know that God cares about you and what's going on in your life," said Graffanino.

All four visitors spoke to a large crowd in the base dining facility. They shared their journeys of faith while wing members enjoyed a catered breakfast. Proceeds from the breakfast benefited the 162nd Fighter Wing Family Readiness Group.

Col. Mick McGuire, 162nd Fighter Wing commander, thanked the players for their support of the Arizona Air National Guard and for visiting the base. He also addressed the crowd of servicemembers, friends and family members.

"Faith is an important word," he said. "Regardless of your religious beliefs, everything you do here is predicated on faith. We have faith in one another, faith that we're all part of a greater team... the biggest, strongest, most capable, and most talented team ever."

The big-leaguers toured the base to visit additional sections that weren't able to join the prayer breakfast because of duty requirements. The local chaplain team escorted them to maintenance and operations facilities, and they "flew" in the wing's state-of-the-art F-16 flight simulators - a key aspect of flight training for student pilots.

The highlight of the day was a surprise visit to the 162nd Fighter Wing Recruiting office where the visitors were treated as basic training recruits - a unique experience with a barking Military Training Instructor.

"I didn't know what to do with my hands, but they kept yelling at me to do something with them," laughed Drew after a de-brief with his mock drill instructor, Tech. Sgt. Annie Jaramillo.

The 162nd Fighter Wing holds the annual prayer breakfast as part of the National Day of Prayer, an annual day of observance in which the president signs a proclamation each year encouraging all Americans to pray for the nation and its leaders.