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Lance Cpl. Russell Brown, squad leader, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, has been playing football sense he was young. Growing up, his family got together every game day to enjoy the game and eat a large meal as a family.

Photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd

What I've Learned: Russell Brown

1 Dec 2016 | Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Lance corporal, squad leader, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment

Hometown: Bay City, Mich.

> I have been playing football for as long as I can remember. Football has always been a family tradition. All my brothers and cousins played growing up.

> My family has always been a busy one. Work and school took up most of our family time but we always came together on Sundays to watch a game and eat a great meal.

> If there are two things that I can say my family loves, its sports and a good meal. My mom loves to cook and the rest of us love to eat.

> I actually had a full ride through college through a football scholarship. It was difficult to get into some of the colleges because I struggled a little bit with my grades, and I was not tall enough to play on some of the teams.

> I finally got accepted to Central Michigan University and spent a year there. I was studying history and thought about becoming a teacher. I always thought that would be a good road for me.

> History is something I first started to enjoy because of my sister. She loves history and always has some little odd fact about something. I also enjoy it because an action that one person makes have an impact for years. Learning how one’s actions affects history is interesting for me and I like learning those facts.

> I ended up studying in college for a year before I decided that I wanted to try something different. I had a friend who was training to become a Navy SEAL and was really excited. At first I wanted to join the Navy and try and become an [explosive ordinance disposal technician].

> My friend ended up lending me the book, ‘American Sniper.’ While reading it Chris Kyle wrote that there was a 50/50 chance that you will meet a good person in the Army, but in the Marine Corps all the people were good. That is what made me want to be a Marine. I took it and ran with it.

> A friend of mine in [Infantry Training Battalion] said that I should be a mortarman, so we could stick together and help each other out. When I told the instructors that I wanted to be a mortarman, they told me that I was going to be a machine gunner. Turns out that was one of the best things that has happened to me in the Marine Corps.

> I love being a machine gunner. There is a lot learn but it’s simple once you know what to do. I have gone from the Marine carrying all the ammo, to the gunner, to the team leader. Now I’m a squad leader and am responsible for controling two of these three-man gunner teams.

> As of now, I’m not sure if I’ll stay in the Marine Corps, but either way the things I’ve done and the lessons I’ve learned will stick with me.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms