Photo Information

Sergeant Wayne Miller, left, defends Sgt. Kevin Santiago during a one-on-one basketball game aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 29, 2014. Miller, 26, is from Orlando and is a Marine air-ground task force planner, and Santiago is a satellite communications operator, both with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Emmanuel Ramos/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos

Warrior Wednesday: Marine from Orlando

13 Aug 2014 | Sgt. Emmanuel Ramos

Sergeant Wayne Miller has been working on his jump shot since he first picked up a basketball. He spent much of his childhood playing pick-up games with opponents nearly twice his height. This challenge taught him a lesson about life early. You cannot get better without adversity. Miller applies this lesson to his job as a Marine air-ground task force planner for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. His enthusiasm and determination in the face of stiff competition makes Miller an asset to his unit. 

In this interview, the 26 year old from Orlando, tells us how his love for basketball has helped bring him and his unit success.

Q: What encouraged you to enlist in the Marine Corps?
A: It was always something that appealed to me. I liked the opportunities and the structure it offered. I’m a very competitive person, and since the Marine Corps is the best of the best, I figured I’d fit right in.

Q: What’s it like to be a Marine air-ground task force planner?
A: There’s a lot of pressure to be on your game. You don’t ever want someone asking you something and not knowing the answer. You want to be the best Marine you can. There’s a lot that goes into my job. It can be really easy for this job to get the best of you. So you learn as much as you can and stay ahead of it.

Q: What’s helped you overcome the challenges of your job?
A: I played a lot of sports in high school, like baseball and basketball. I’ve always been competitive. That competitiveness has kept me going and allowed me to push myself harder. I want to be better than the next guy. When someone asks me something, I want to have the answer. 

Q: When did you start playing basketball?
A: When I was a little kid, I always played basketball. I spent a lot of time playing around the house and on the courts. I played against anyone in the neighborhood. I used to go down to the YMCA and play basketball against kids way taller than me. That made me better though. 

Q: What was it like playing basketball for your high school?
A: It was awesome. Our team wasn’t that good, but we had fun. Everyone on the team loved the sport and we had good camaraderie. We played with each other and it made us better. That’s the most important thing. You have to be able to have fun with it. 

Q: What is it about the game that you love?
A: The fast-paced nature of it. You’re on offense fast and switch to defense fast. Things can change in a split second. I love that pressure.

Q: What’s going through your mind when you go one-on-one with an opponent?
A: Of course you have that competitive nature; you’re focusing and keeping your mind in the game. Overall though, I don’t try to take the game too serious. I just think about going out there and playing ball with my friend. Just enjoy the game. 

Q: Do you think you’re the best basketball player in the MEU?
A: I wouldn’t say the best. The MEU has a lot of athletes, but I’m pretty good and I’m not afraid to go against anyone. 

Q: How do you apply your basketball skills to what you do as a MAGTF planner?
A: I always strive to be the best. You don’t want anyone to outshine you. You always want to have an answer. Just like figuring out how to beat the guy you’re playing. So strive to be as perfect as you can be, and be open to learning new things. Read anything that will make you better and learn from people who know more. Taking what they have and listening to their advice, and actually applying it. Try to figure out your flaws and mistakes, and try to not repeat them. Best of all just enjoy yourself. The game’s never fun if you take it too serious and just lose. 

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