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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

"Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command"

Twentynine Palms, California
What I've Learned: Kevan Birkinsha

By Lance Cpl. Isaac Cantrell | Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms | July 18, 2017

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Twentynine Palms -- > I was born and raised in a small town called Atchison, Kan. It was a typical small town where everyone did what they needed to do to get by.

> By the time I was eight years old, I started working on a farm. Around that same age, I had several hobbies that sparked my interest, like working on cars, woodworking, hunting and fishing.

> My main role model growing up was my stepfather. He taught me a lot of what I know, especially when it comes to agricultural and automotive skills.

> I mainly grew up with my father. Around my sophomore year of high school, I began living with my mother and her husband.

> I played a lot of team sports in high school. The team building skills that I learned playing those sports have helped me in my time in the Marine Corps.

> I joined the Marine Corps right after high school because it felt like the right thing to do. My uncle was in the Marine Corps, and my mother was in the Navy. When my brother joined the Navy I had to one up him, so I joined the Corps.

> Since I’ve joined, I’ve been able to learn how to do basic electronic maintenance and how to load, unload and work on communication radios.

> I get the same small town feel in Twentynine Palms that I did growing up in Atchison. There’s a lot less green here, but everyone knows everybody and we all help each other, just like at home. I appreciate that community atmosphere.

> My crowning achievement since I joined the Marine Corps has been mastering the necessary skills for my military occupational specialty. I’m able go out to different units and train different people on how to better perform in this job field.

> One day during my last field operation, my unit was supporting Marines from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton that were participating in their Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation. My gunnery sergeant was talking to a master sergeant from the Pendleton group and found out they were having technical difficulties with their communications, so I was sent over there to sort out the problem. I was able to do a quick troubleshoot and fix the issue they were having, while teaching those Marines a couple things about their radio systems.

> The most important thing in my life is family. Family is everything. Dominic Toretto said it best in Fast and Furious 7: “I don’t have friends, I have family.” When I heard that quote, it rang true to me, so I just stuck to it. If you’re family, you’re family. You don’t have to be anybody else.

> If I could go back to the moment I stepped on those yellow footprints, I’d tell myself to stay true to who I am, because that’s what keeps me going.

> I would like to play football for the Marine Corps and eventually attend the Naval Academy. My long term goal is to commission as an officer and become a pilot. I feel free in the sky. I used to fly small crop dusters back in Atchison, and I always loved it. Flying gives me a feeling of relaxation.

> My advice for new Marines who are reading this: When life knocks you down and you have nowhere to go, stand up. You have two strong legs, use them and keep moving forward.
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