- Marine SSgt. Lowndes with his souvenir (Photo: TBD Staff)
So far at Redskins Park, we've seen all sorts of paraphernalia: jerseys, hats, helmets, footballs, etc. But this expression of loyalty to the Redskins tops them all.
Pictured at left is 29-year-old Reginald Lowndes. He's an active duty Marine staff sergeant based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He's also holding a real tail rotor from a Cobra helicopter, painted burgundy and gold.
Lowndes came into possession of the rotor last year while serving a tour of duty in Iraq, where he rescued the fiberglass rotor from destruction after it had flown its required 18,000 hours.
"I asked if I could keep it, if that was against Marine Corps rules, and they said no," Lowndes said. Lowndes took it to SSgt. Michael Murrell, an Ohio native and professional artist.
"He asked me what I wanted on it, and I said, 'Put my champs' on there," Lowndes said. "He asked me 'How long's it been--' I said, 'I don't care how long it's been. Put my champs on there.'"
And so it was that Lowndes showed up at Redskins Park today, as he put it, "hoping and praying to get this filled up with signatures [from Donovan] McNabb, [Chris] Cooley [who's got pride of place on the blade], Mike Sellers, Santana Moss, all these guys."
As you can see from the picture, Lowndes already got off to a good start with Hall-of-Famer Sam Huff's autograph. But there is one small problem with Lowndes's masterpiece. The quarterback portrayed on the blade is not McNabb, but his predecessor, Jason Campbell. But Lowndes sees no need to remove Campbell from his place.
"It's like we say, 'Once a Marine, always a Marine'," Lowndes said. "Well, Jason Campbell's always gonna be a Redskin to me."