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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The servicemen of Pierce College

Since Pierce College first opened the athletics department, they’ve had deep ties with military services. From the Army to the Coast Guard, these men and women proudly represent America while wearing the Brahma red and black. With them they bring valor, discipline, and a sense of solidarity that only a soldier can bring.

This football season, we were lucky enough to have five servicemen on the frontlines of the gridiron. These servicemen include defensive coach Kort Huttinger, wide receiver coach Jack Mills, videotape handler Adam Khosroabadi, running back Marcus Mays, Linebacker Jason “Army” Strudivent, and assistant coach David Ochoa. These men represent the Coast Guard, the Marines, Army, and the Navy.

 

Defensive Coach Kort Huttinger

Military Branch: Coast Guard

Serving seven years in the Coast Guard, coach Huttinger was first stationed in Alameda, Calif. In 2001, Huttinger delivered goods to all parts of the globe, circumventing the planet in a cutter (term for a warship which has an assigned crew with accommodations for the extended support of that crew) for the first time in Coast Guard history. During his duty, Kort transported materials along with having run-ins with the Iraqi Navy and modern day pirates. After that, he was stationed in Key West for five years, doing searches and rescues as well as being a machinery technician and led law enforcement officers. Kort began working at Pierce after he was honorably discharged and used his GI bill to go to school. It was when his friend from high school (currently also coaching on the football team) that gave Kort the opportunity to coach at Pierce. His proudest moments as a coach were winning the 2012 Patriotic Bowl and the 2014 American Pacific Bowl. Now working a disabled Veteran, Kort has been coaching for three years at Pierce and one day hopes to coach in the D-1 college football league.

 

Wide Receiver Coach Jack Mills

Military Branch: Navy

Born in Tennessee, Mills has been playing football since he was just a little boy. Once he reached Junior College, he began playing football for El Camino and was a walk-on for San Jose State, where he suffered a foot injury. Afterwards, Mills joined the Navy, stationed on the U.S.S. Constellation, a ‘supercarrier’ warship, known for launching Tomcats and M16 Hornets. There were 20 to 30 aircrafts on the supercarrier at any given time during its tour. Serving for four years with two years inactive afterwards, Mills retired his Navy career to return to his love, football.

 

Film Coordinator Adam Khosroabadi

Military Branch: Marines

Khosroabadi’s call to the service came at the age of 16 when 9/11 occurred. It was at that point that he knew he was born to fight for his country. Locally raised but also spending some time in Oregon, Khosroabadi is your epitome of an Action Marine, fighting in an Infantry unit on the frontlines in Iraq. “Some people get that calling, and some don’t,” said Khosroabadi. After training for two months at Camp Pendleton, Khosroabadi, then 18, was sent to a fleet in Twentynine Palms, Calif.  He was then sent to Iraq where he fought Fallujah. Khosroabadi served his seven-month tour and returned to America later that year. “We got back and it was a great feeling,” Khosroabadi said. “I felt like a hero.” Adam has landed a job helping our Brahma’s with film that includes plays and strategies. As one of the youngest staff members on the football team, this soldier has a bright future.

 

Linebacker, Free safety Jason “Army” Strudivent

Military Branch: Army

‘6 “11. 220 pounds. All-American. Strudivent may hail from New York, but he humbly represents Pierce red and black now. Wearing his Army cap with the rest of his football attire, Strudivent is another model soldier, carrying the posture and discipline of an Army representative. Although he wasn’t deployed into action, Strudivent’s role in the Army is a pivotal one, training soldiers how to use a tank. Serving three years in active duty, Strudivent shot live tank rounds during reindeer games and established his talent almost immediately. “I was highly trained in tank combat, in riflemen ship and hand-to-hand combat. I didn’t get to work with explosives, but that wasn’t that bad,” Strudivent said. With two AAM’s (Army Achievement Medals), a Combat Level One Certificate, two Squadron Coins and one Veteran Coin, Jason already has a long list of accomplishments in the service at the ripe young age of 22. The New Yorker defends America as vehemently as he covers wide receivers on the field.

 

Running Back Marcus Mays

Military Branch: Marines

Kentucky raised along with 10 siblings, the soft-spoken backwoodsmen learned of perseverance long before he joined the service. Mays’ passion for football is so devout that he’d risk his life to get a shot at his dream. When he arrived in the Marines, he says he was un-phased to the harsh realities around him and decided to roll with the punches. “I don’t think there was any time when I thought I couldn’t do it. I mean I knew I could, but it did get frustrating sometimes.” The result was a man with an iron-chin and a heart of gold. Stationed in Camp Pendleton, Mays served as a maintenance management specialist and part of the Infantry unit. “The hardest thing I dealt with in the Marines was when one of my friends got killed,” Mays said. Still focused on his football career, he will never forget the properties that the Marines instilled in him. Still jumping out of bed at 5 a.m. everyday, there are some things that will never change for a soldier.

(Ochoa story written by Santiago Svidler)

Assistant coach David Ochoa

Military Branch: Navy

Before beginning his career as Pierce College assistant football coach, David Ochoa served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

After his time in the Navy, Ochoa worked for several metal shops, eventually applying his trade at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he spent 34 years.

Ochoa retired in 1976 and began coaching football for a high school team. In 2006, head coach Efrain Martinez asked him to coach at Pierce.

“When I was in high school I always wanted to be a football coach and a history teacher,” Ochoa said.

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