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Wright-Patt joins in First Four tournament activities

Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio hold a large garrison-size American flag during the presentation of the colors and singing of the national anthem at the NCAA First Four Tournament March 19, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio hold a large garrison-size American flag during the presentation of the colors and singing of the national anthem at the NCAA First Four Tournament March 19, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

Members of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio Honor Guard present the colors during the pregame ceremonies of the NCAA First Four Tournament March 19, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

Members of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio Honor Guard present the colors during the pregame ceremonies of the NCAA First Four Tournament March 19, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

Col. Thomas P. Sherman, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, swears individuals from around the Miami Valley area into the Air Force Delayed Enlistment Program during half-time events of a game between Fairleigh Dickinson Knights and Prairie View A&M Panthers as part of the NCAA First Four Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, March 19, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

Col. Thomas P. Sherman, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, swears individuals from around the Miami Valley area into the Air Force Delayed Enlistment Program during half-time events of a game between Fairleigh Dickinson Knights and Prairie View A&M Panthers as part of the NCAA First Four Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, March 19, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

As part of Dayton’s Big Hoopla, children participated in activities related to science, technology, engineering and math at the Hoopla STEM challenge March 17 at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. (Courtesy photo)

As part of Dayton’s Big Hoopla, children participated in activities related to science, technology, engineering and math at the Hoopla STEM challenge March 17 at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. (Courtesy photo)

K-12 STEM team lead Dann Andrews (right) from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Educational Outreach Office explains to attendees how the energy bike works at the Hoopla STEM challenge on March 17 at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio.  The STEM challenge event was part of the Dayton Big Hoopla. (Courtesy photo)

K-12 STEM team lead Dann Andrews (right) from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Educational Outreach Office explains to attendees how the energy bike works at the Hoopla STEM challenge on March 17 at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. The STEM challenge event was part of the Dayton Big Hoopla. (Courtesy photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The NCAA First Four Division I Men’s Basketball tournament at the University of Dayton Arena March 19-20 marked the 19th consecutive year that the road to the final four has started in Dayton, Ohio. 

The Big Hoopla ticket program donated approximately 3,000 tickets to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Airmen and their families to recognize and show appreciation for the United States Air Force.

The First Four events were held throughout the week starting with the Big Hoopla Four Miler in downtown Dayton and the Big Hoopla STEM Challenge at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School.  The event, which is free, highlights, science, technology, engineering and math designed to engage students.  More than 450 runners participated in the Four Miler and more than 800 children were on hand at the STEM Challenge.

Maj. Gen. Carl Schaefer, Deputy Commander, Air Force Materiel Command was the guest speaker at the STEM event and reminded the students about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math in the Miami Valley community.

The Wright-Patterson Education & Outreach members showcased Wizards of Wright (WOW!), LEGACY, FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League Jr., and STARBASE Wright-Patt programs.

Teams participating in the First Four began to arrive Monday afternoon and fans were ready Tuesday and Wednesday night to cheer them on.

Thirty Airmen across Wright-Patt presented the American Flag while the Wright-Patt Honor Guard presented the colors and Airman 1st Class Melan Smartt sang the National Anthem.

During half time of the first game on Tuesday, Col. Tom Sherman, 88th Air Base Wing and Installation Commander, presided over a swearing-in ceremony for recruits under the Delayed Enlistment Program.

The second game day started just like the first with the singing of the National Anthem, presentation of the colors and displaying of the large U.S. flag.

Schaefer joined Big Hoopla committee members on center court as the Hoopla STEM Challenge winner was announced.