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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

"Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command"

Twentynine Palms, California
What I've Learned: Michael Lowe

By Cpl. D.J. Wu | Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center | September 13, 2013


Michael Lowe will complete his active-duty requirements and return home to Pittsburgh where he will continue serving as a selective reservist.

Hockey players are a special breed. We’re a small, close-knit community. Much like the Marine Corps, the camaraderie is there.

Being able to find fellow hockey players out here, little by little, from all over base, both Marine and sailor, has been an awesome opportunity.

When we first started recruiting, we had difficulties finding guys. I sent flyers to a few commands, some people I knew in high places, and they got the word out. We got a few players from that.

Driving around base sometimes, I look for cars with license plates from Minnesota or Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, somewhere I knew was a hockey hot bed. If I see them get out, I’ll ask them if they play hockey. If I see some younger Marines with hockey-team shirts on, I’ll stop and ask them.

It’s a good feeling to drive down the hill and we’re all able to meet up and play hockey, laugh, joke and carry on. It’s a good time.

We’re in better shape than some other teams in the league. We’re more aggressive. We’re a force to be reckoned with.

I would of never had this chance back home in the reserves.

I’m trying to lay a foundation for the team. I’m only here for a couple more months and I want to see more hockey players on base come together.

I’ve got a couple of guys, and they would never come out and say it, but I think they aim for my head during practice. They shoot pretty high.

Sometimes the guys will get into a breakaway competition and try out their new moves on me. Sometimes it’ll work and sometimes it doesn’t. For the most part, we’re pretty loose. We just chill out, skate around and wait for the puck to drop.

During a game, I’m always going through angles, where I need to be and squaring my body off to the puck. That way I can plan my move accordingly.

There are a lot of things I yell at my defense but number one is to stop the puck. Sometimes I’m just screaming and yelling out there for them to use their partner.

You definitely have to be a little not right in the head to want to have a puck come at you at a very high rate of speed. It’s something I got used to as a youngster. I never really thought twice about it. Just go out, be aggressive and put my body in front of it.

I played hockey and football. I never thought I was going to play football again after high school. I got to relive some of my high school dreams. 14 years out of high school and I’m out there kicking footballs again.

I even won a championship with the Headquarters Battalion team. This is awesome this is the fitting end to my football career. I couldn’t ask for a better outcome.

When I’m not playing, I hang out with my wife. She’s a good woman. She has supported me through everything I’ve ever done. She’s always there for me, so I enjoy every moment I spend with her.

She’s one of our biggest fans and I’m her biggest fan too. She’s an athlete. She plays softball in the summer and the roles are reversed. I get to watch her play and cheer her on like she does for me.

We do like to play video games together. We play Call of Duty and she’s way better than me. She plays better than 75 percent of the guys I know.

She got me a PS3 and Modern Warfare 2. I played it, but in the time I’d be at work, she’d be getting on the sticks too. Eventually we had to accommodate her gaming interest too, so I went out and got another controller.

It’s a lot of hard work, working with wounded warriors, but it’s very rewarding. Watching these guys empower themselves and become successful. To see them recover and heal, it’s a good feeling.

I came out here as a boot Staff Sgt. I got promoted only three or four months before coming out here. I didn’t really know a thing about being a staff non-commissioned officer. I learned a lot out here. Personally, it helped me get back on my feet.

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