This is Staff Sergeant Reginald Lowndes, of the U.S. Marine Corps. He’s right smack in the middle of a four day leave, which he scheduled deliberately to attend Redskins training camp.
He came to camp with three goals:
First, and simplest, to cheer for his favorite team. SSgt Lowndes was born in New York and lived there for the first thirteen years of his life, but, he says, “never watched football” there. “I moved down to Maryland in eighth grade. I was bored, Redskins were playing the Giants, I took the underdog and I’ve been in love ever since.”
Second, to have a chance to meet Mike Sellers. “I was stationed in Okinawa with his sister,” Lowndes explains.
“His sister’s husband is in the Air Force, and it’s a funny thing: I was in the post office and I was talking about the Redskins, and she’s like, ‘Oh, who’s talking about the Redskins.’ I’m like, ‘I am.’ She’s like, ‘Oh, well my brother plays for the Redskins,’ and I’m like, ‘Shut up.'” Lowndes laughs — a little sheepishly — and shrugs. “Come to find out, number 45 is her brother. Small, small world,” he says, and — coincidentally — is able to start cheering for a catch-and-run by Sellers just as he finishes speaking.
Third is to get that piece of memorabilia he’s holding signed. At first glance, it looks like a large skateboard or an undersized surfboard, but it’s actually the tail rotor from an AH-1 Cobra helicopter, and it saw significant duty in Iraq back when it was painted a much less jaunty — and easier-to-camouflage — olive drab.
“We were in Iraq,” Lowndes explains, “Al Asad. We were closing that place out, but as we were closing it out, we had to, ah, knock a couple people out in the process. So this bad boy’s seen action, but after a certain amount of hours, they can’t use them. So instead of breaking it and disposing it, I was, like, ‘Wait, hold on!'”
The USMC let Lowndes keep the blade, and he took it to another staff sergeant with some artistic chops to have it done up Redskins style. “This would’ve looked a whole heckuva lot better if he wasn’t in Iraq,” Lowndes said, “but he did a fantastic job for being in Iraq. He charged me 250 to do it, but, hey, nothin’ in the world for free. Now I’m just hoping to get Chris Cooley‘s signature on it.”
Tags: training camp 2010
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