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The Journal Gazette

Friday, October 26, 2018 4:02 pm

Komets to become Blacksnakes

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

The Komets will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Heritage Park, home of the Air National Guard, 122nd Fighter Wing, to announce they will become “the Blacksnakes” during Military Appreciation Weekend Nov. 2 and 3 at Memorial Coliseum.

The Komets will wear special Blacksnakes jerseys during both home games.

(As an aside, as someone who has long pitched Blacksnakes as the best name for a local professional team -- this is awesome!)

"The family at Big City Cars is honored to partner with the Fort Wayne Komets in celebration of Military Appreciation Weekend,” said Tim Duncan, manager of Big City Cars. "This year’s jersey design, paying tribute to the Fort Wayne Air National Guard Blacksnakes, is simply awesome and we anticipate the fans of the Komets will be in full force supporting the jersey auction this year."

The Blacksnakes jerseys will be sold during a silent auction at the games.

"For the second year in a row we have selected Honor Flight Northeast Indiana as the recipient of our charity of choice," Duncan added. "This local organization does an outstanding job supporting our veterans by providing an opportunity to visit our nation’s capital and the many memorials to thank our Veterans and paying tribute to those who gave their life for our freedom."

The Blacksnakes are the men and women of the 122nd Fighter Wing, which traces its heritage back to the 358th Fighter Group that was activated in January 1943 at Richmond Army Air Base in Virginia. Following the surrender of Germany, the group redeployed to the United States in July 1945. In May 1946, the group was redesignated as the 122nd Fighter Group, later became Fighter Wing, and was assigned with all honors and colors to the Indiana Air National Guard.

“The 122nd Fighter Wing is honored to participate in such a great event and have the Komets take on the Blacksnakes name during Military Appreciation Weekend! Fort Wayne is a fantastic community and we are extremely thankful for all of your support," said Col. Michael Stohler, Commander, 122nd Fighter Wing.

The 122nd Fighter Wing serves in the Air Expeditionary Forces deployment rotation, as well as deploying members to augment Air Force and Army units serving at home and abroad. The 122nd Fighter Wing has contributed multiple combat medical teams, security forces squads, vehicle drivers and pilots who are hand-picked for their outstanding combat flying skills and many individuals who are asked to serve on specialty teams in the Mideast. Combat Zone assignments include Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Diego Garcia and many more areas.

In addition to representatives of the Blacksnakes, all Fort Wayne Komets players, coaches and management will be in attendance at the news conference.

The Komets face the Toledo Walleye at 8 p.m. tonight.

jcohn@jg.net