Skilled pilots would kill members of their rival services and even shoot down troops from the Allies on Friday in a video game tournament.
They will play Call of Duty, the long-running franchise that allows players to engage in online combat, and face off against Marines, sailors and troops from the United Kingdom at an event set to raise money for charity.
Air Force Gaming, the service’s video game association, will compete from its headquarters at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs while the other teams will join remotely.
The military has shifted to video games in recent years, with competitive teams competing for tournaments online while drawing recruits from the Xbox generation to the ranks.
The Air Force also uses video games as a way to improve morale.
“It began as a grassroots effort by volunteer pilots,” the service said in a press release, and is the official center for games and esports for the entire Air Force and Space Force. “The program, which is located within the Air Force Service Center and focuses on improving mental health through community building through video games, currently has more than 10,000 soldiers and women on all platforms in only their first season of competition.”
An estimated 80 percent of teenage boys and a growing percentage of teenage girls spend their spare time playing video games.
“These friendly contests are great for morale in all branches and are a great demonstration of the work that Air Force Gaming is doing to establish a vibrant and positive culture across the entire Air Force division,” Captain Oliver Parsons, who established the service, said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing the first Air Force and Space Force air sports teams dominate the competition.”
Commanders also see video games as a valuable tool on the battlefield. The tools used to play these games are a bit like operating robots in combat. The Air Force is increasingly dependent on robotic drones and robots will soon take on other roles in the combat. Last summer, Fort Carson conducted an experiment using automatic tanks in combat training.
The Air Force is also using virtual reality games to train troops in skills including aircraft maintenance.
Video games allow young soldiers to flee when deployed overseas. Air Force Gaming is organizing tournaments in faraway places, including Afghanistan this month, to boost morale.
We wanted to provide some opportunities for our deployed pilots to connect with each other through their shared love of video games, ”said Colonel Mark Adair, Director of Operations.“ It’s always hard to be away from home, but especially on holidays. ” For the Air Force Service Center. “The holiday courses seemed to be a great way to give these individuals a touch of home.”
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