By David VergunDecember 6, 2016
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- A combined Army and Air Force hockey team, coached by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, trounced a team of Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard players at the Verizon Center here late Monday night.
The game lasted almost to midnight, as it followed a Washington Capitals 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres that went into overtime. After the game, Milley introduced several of the players to the media and asked each player to speak briefly.
Among the players was Under Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy, who attributed the Army win to great leadership and teamwork. He called the game "a great way to start 'beat Navy' week," referring to the Army-Navy football game that will be played Saturday in Baltimore.
Milley singled out Army goaltender Air Force Capt. Lindsey Colburn for several incredible saves, naming her the most valuable player and awarding her his own personal Army puck. He reminded reporters that the Air Force was once part of the Army and joked, "We're thinking about taking it back again."
Asked by the chief to share a few details about herself, Colburn said she's 32 and from Norfolk, New Hampshire, and she has served in the Air Force for six years and is currently stationed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
The chief also praised retired Sgt. 1st Class Joe Bowser, 56, who played on a prosthetic leg. Milley noted that Bowser lost his leg to an improvised explosive device in Balad, Iraq, in 2004. He's "an American hero," the chief added.
Bowser said doctors asked him to make the call to remove the leg or live in pain with a mangled one. He chose the amputation so he could continue playing hockey. Bowser made the U.S. amputee team in 2007, which won the silver medal.
The chief then introduced Pvt. Corbin Bourque, a member of The Old Guard's Honor Guard Company. "We are the presidential escort platoon, so wherever the president goes, we go," Bourque said.
Bourque said it was an honor to be chosen to play in that night's game.
"Everything felt good and it was nice to get a couple of goals in there," he said. "It was awesome. I had a great time."
When it was his turn to speak, Lt. Gen. James McConville, the Army G-1, said at age 59 he was "the oldest guy on the ice."
He said the Army-Navy hockey game was exciting and expressed hoped that the team's win was a precursor to victory on the gridiron Saturday. "Winning matters, and we're going to win," he said.
Col. Doug Stitt, McConville's executive officer, said sports like hockey build teamwork and camaraderie and sow "the seeds for future victory."