CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- Marines are very accustomed to sparring and grappling. They learn the basics of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program in basic training, earn a tan belt and continue the program throughout their time in service.
Corporal Scott Johnson, a special security representative and systems administrator with Regimental Combat Team 7, learned to spar and grapple long before joining the Marines Corps and through time grew to love many sports.
Johnson said boxing is his personal favorite sport, but the list of sports he enjoys playing doesn’t seem to end— from grappling and racquetball to soccer and paintball. Johnson often joins other Marines in the RCT’s intelligence section during games of football, but prefers head-to-head competition.
“I boxed for several years, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Johnson, a 23-year-old native of Flagstaff, Ariz. “I love any kind of sport that is one-on-one.”
Johnson said much of what he learned growing up can be attributed to his father, who used to spar with him at home.
“One day I was practicing with my dad, and he got a real nice clean shot that completely rung my bell,” Johnson said. “I woke up to him standing over me, and I could tell he was panicking. It still makes me laugh.”
Before he deployed here in October, Johnson coached boys’ soccer at Camp Pendleton, Calif., as a way to pass on some things he learned growing up.
“I really wanted to find a way to volunteer,” Johnson said. “I volunteered a lot when I was in Florida (for military training), and coaching kids was a great way to get out and help.”
On the job, Johnson spends his time keeping the RCT’s classified networks running properly and protected.
“I spend a lot of my day running around like my hair is on fire,” said Johnson. “I’m responsible for making sure everyone (who needs to) can access top secret information.”
Johnson ensures secret information remains secure, which requires tenacity, said Sgt. Christopher Travis, the intelligence targeting chief with RCT-7.
“He’s extremely competitive,” said Travis. “Even when we give him a problem he doesn’t know how to solve, he eventually figures it out.”
Travis recognized Johnson’s playful side when he described him as the goofiest guy he’s ever met. This goofiness helps in the office, though, Travis said.
“I’ve never seen him lose his temper, and he always makes people laugh,” Travis said. “Without him, we would be dead in the water.”
Although he hasn’t decided on a career in the Marine Corps, Johnson hopes to attend California Institute of Technology to earn his degree in mechanical engineering. He’s currently taking classes online to help prepare.
There will be more opportunities for Johnson to play sports in the future and he expressed interest in trying out for one of the All-Marine sports teams, which competes against military branches and semi-professional teams. Until then, he said there’s plenty of work and play for him here.
Editor’s note: This article is part of a series wherein every week we recognize an individual Marine or sailor with Regimental Combat Team 7. The Marines and sailors of RCT-7 are dedicated, disciplined and driven to accomplish the mission, and the Marine in this article has earned special recognition for standing out among these professionals. Be sure to check every week to see who will be honored as the latest Marine of the Week.