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Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
Photo Information

Mike Spillard, boiler plant operator, Public Works Division, enjoys building and assembling components and has plans to study engineering in Japan. Spillard, a former Marine intelligence specialist, is learning Japanese while he saves up to go to college. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd

What I’ve Learned: Mike Spillard

12 Jan 2017 | Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Boiler plant operator, Public Works Division

Hometown: Compton, Calif.

>Before I joined the Marine Corps I did a lot of skateboarding. Now that I have more time, I have gotten back to doing it again. I thought that it would be hard but I got right back on the board like I never got off.

>Cooking is another thing that I have gotten into. It’s an entertaining thing to do and I enjoy it. I did learn how to make sushi, which is cool.

> I didn’t really have a person who made me want to join the military but I knew that I wanted to join the military. I joined the Marine Corps very soon after high school. No one really affected my decision to join. I didn’t know there was a difference between any of the branches. I wanted to join the military and the Marine Corps contacted me, which is why I chose them, oddly enough.

>I started getting really into swimming once I joined the Marine Corps. I thought that I should practice it so that I would be able to use it if I needed to. I wanted to be strong enough to save someone if the time ever came.

>I ended up with a [military occupational specialty] in intelligence. It was a good experience but I knew that it was not something I could keep doing. I did get to learn about the different places and topics that I wrote about. It was interesting to learn about those things.

>Shortly after I joined, I got married and my wife and I spent my entire time in the Marine Corps here in Twentynine Palms. I had known my wife for about 12 years before we got married.

>We love it here. We are both from a city and when we came out here it was like everything slowed down.

>Now I have two kids and I’m beginning to follow the things that I always loved. I was always interested in building things. I have always wanted to be an engineer. Building things and creating things have always been one of my favorite things to do. I have always like to figure out how things work and see what I could do if put things together in a certain way.

>Right after I got out of the Marine Corps, the base asked if I wanted to work for them doing some of the background checks. I took the job and it wasn’t until about a year later that I met a person who worked at the co-generation plants.

>He took me to one of [the plants] and I realized that I wanted to work here. Everything that happens in this plant is giving me the knowledge of engineering I want. I get to learn about different machines that I work with. I asked what I needed to do to work here and he said that I could come by and learn about all the different things that happen at the co-gen plants.

>I went every day to learn about all I could. One day they started looking for people who wanted to work at the plants and I got the job. I couldn’t have been happier.

>This is the best job I could ask for to start my career in engineering. I have been able to look at turbines and various other objects that I find awesome.

> I plan to keep working here until I can save up enough to go to Japan and go to college for engineering. There is a great college that I can study engineering there. Also, a large amount of new things are made there. Everything is engineered and I want to be around that for at least a while.
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms