Forget that tired trope of Marines eating crayons. Lance Cpl. Malik Pugh is building electric skateboards and robots when he’s not working on complicated satellite communications equipment.
Pugh, an Air Force brat from Fairview Heights, Illinois, was profiled earlier this month in a video from the 3rd Marine Logistics Group. In it, the digital wideband technician for the group’s Combat Logistics Regiment 37 explained how he’s been building and modifying electronics since he was a kid growing up on Air Force bases.
“You move around a lot and it’s kinda hard to make friends sometimes,” Pugh said, explaining that he was inspired by the movie Short Circuit and its robot character’s ability to relate with humans. “I really connected to that and I feel like that gave a lot of drive to me wanting to build a robotic companion or device like that.”
Among the devices Pugh shows off in the video, which was produced by fellow lance corporal Moises Rodriguez, is a remote control car that launches a first-person flying drone and a custom-made electric skateboard with an impressive 30-mile range. Then there’s the piece of equipment he fixes as part of his day job called the VSAT large, or very small aperture terminal large, which downloads internet data from satellites.
“When I do my work that’s showing you a part of myself so I’ve gotta put everything I can into it to execute the best, and give you my best,” he said.
Pugh said it took about seven months to build his electric skateboard, which he likes to use to explore the Japanese island of Okinawa, where he’s stationed at Camp Kinser. In the video, Pugh rides the skateboard more than 30 miles from Kinser to Kadena Air Force Base and back, though it malfunctions just a half a mile from home.
“I would love to have things that I make help bridge gaps for people,” Pugh said.
Watch the video below: