Hubert Edwards, a 97-year-old WWII veteran who reportedly “served with an artillery unit for 37 months on the front lines during” the WWII, has been an Atlanta Braves fan for nearly 50 years. On Sunday, he attended his first Braves game at Fort Bragg, where he once lived before being deployed to Europe to fight in WWII. Edwards became a Braves and baseball fan while listening to grainy radio broadcasts while he was stationed overseas.
The Braves and Marlins played the first regular-season professional sports game ever on an active military base.
According to the Fayetteville Observer, Edwards was invited to a meet-and-greet event with the players but did not think he would be able to attend the game “most of the tickets were being given to active-duty military personnel.”
But on Sunday, “Col. Jeff Munn, battalion commander with the 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment” presented Edwards and his wife with two tickets to the game.
As the Observer detailed, “assigned to the 17th Field Artillery Battalion, Edwards handled the powder charge for a 155mm howitzer, a 12,800-pound towed cannon capable of delivering shells more than 11 miles. Deployed on June 13, 1942, to North Africa, Edwards and his 17th Field Artillery group participated in the famed Tunisia Campaign that eventually led to the defeat of German and Italian forces.” The Raleigh News & Observer reported that Edwards served in “England, Italy, France, Germany, Austria and in northern Africa” during the War. Edwards reportedly still has nightmares and doesn’t talk much about his experiences because “you had to be there to understand.”
Before the game, Edwards met with his current favorite Braves player—Freddie Freeman. He also got to meet former Braves skipper Bobby Cox. Edwards’s favorite Braves player of all time is Chipper Jones. After meeting with Bobby Cox, Edwards reportedly said, “This is the highlight of my life.
Unfortunately for Edwards, his Braves lost 5-2 to the Marlins as their ninth-inning rally came up short.
— 82nd Airborne Div (@82ndABNDiv) July 3, 2016
— FO Sports (@FO_Sports) July 3, 2016
Just met Hubert Edwards, 97, WWII vet. Became Braves fan listening to games during war. Going to first game tonight pic.twitter.com/OQrg5J03Lo
— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) July 3, 2016