It’s not unusual to see a branch of the U.S. military advertise during sporting events. Most Americans have probably seen a commercial or two for the military branches if they spend any time watching television. But people may be surprised to hear that a group of soldiers are serving their country while also competing in esports competitions through the Army Esports team.
The Army Esports team is on Twitter at @USArmyesports and is expanding, having recently announced tryouts for the Rainbow Six Siege academy team.
WIN.gg spoke with Sergeant First Class Christopher Jones, general manager of the Army Esports team, to learn more about the team and its goals.
What is the goal of the Army Esports team?
Jones: Connecting America to its army through the passion of gaming. We are telling the stories of soldiers who are extremely passionate about esports and gaming to a growing American population who know little to nothing about the United States Army.
Which games is the team currently involved in?
League of Legends, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Magic the Gathering: Arena, FGC [Mortal Kombat, Tekken 7 and Smash], Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Are there any other games the team is looking to get involved in?
We are looking to have teams for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Rainbow Six Siege, amongst other titles.
Are the team’s players all in the Army? If not, does a player who might get recruited to play with Army Esports have to make a commitment of service like the academy schools use?
All players are currently serving in the Active Duty and Army Reserves. There are no enlistment options directly to the esports team at this time. All of these soldiers currently hold other Military Occupational Specialities and will remain certified in those jobs while participating in this program.
Is the team trying to work up to the top level of esport competition, or just participate in tournaments as a way to boost recruitment?
We are looking to compete at the highest level of esports while also supporting the recruiting effort by showing that gamers have the ability not only to become soldiers, but are also able to excel [otherwise,] and we are a prime example of that.
We all became gamers well before we joined the Army, and we now hold jobs ranging from Special Forces Operator, Helicopter Pilots, to Information Technology, Air Defense Artillery, Combat Medic and even Military Police.