FORT SILL

Soldiers Attend Esports Gamer Boot Camp' Through Exchange and U.S. Army Family & MWR Partnership

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Story by Marisa Wolfe on 07/03/2019
FRISCO, Texas U.S. Soldiers come from all walks of life and are stationed all around the world, but there's one thing they almost all share in common: gaming.

Two weeks after professional gamers visited Fort Bliss to see how Soldiers train and live, the tables were turned when 15 Soldiers visited Complexity Gaming headquarters at the GameStop Performance Center in Frisco, Texas, on June 28 to experience the life of a professional esports gamer.

"It's amazing. It's like a gamer's dream," said Pvt. Carlos Silva of Complexity's brand new facility.

The event is part of a partnership between the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Family & MWR Programs, and Complexity Gaming, which are bringing esports tournaments to installations around the world.

"For me, gaming has always been a stress reliever. When you go to work, being in the Army, you do 16-hour workdays, 18-hour workdays," said Silva, who is stationed at Wheeler Army Air Field in Hawaii. "Gaming helps you relieve stress and helps train your mind. It requires a lot of hand-eye coordination [and quick] reaction time."

Esports has become a focus of Army Entertainment, where Family & MWR leaders recently created an Army esports program. This program allows for Soldiers to compete in nationwide tournaments, which build relevant programming and boost morale.

"Gaming is great for cognitive skills, decision-making and teamwork," said Col. Collin Fortier, the Exchange's military community liaison. "The skills needed in gaming are a good blend of what the Army is looking for in Soldiers."

Soldiers around the world submitted applications for the chance to participate in the esports program through Family & MWR's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) initiative. MSI Computer Corp., a presenting partner with the Exchange and Family & MWR, sponsors the BOSS' Soldier Esports Showdown program that allowed the Soldiers to come to Frisco.

While at Complexity headquarters, the Soldiers played competitive assessment games that measured speed, decision making, dexterity, spatial recognition and audio-visual skills. They also had an opportunity to play against professional gamers.

"It goes to show how much we all have in common, whether it's sports, esports, military," said Specialist Joshua Velazquez, also stationed at Wheeler Army Air Field. "They all require a lot of mental endurance and certain physical attributes. I didn't realize how similar they were before I got here. [It's] a lot of similar training for the mind."

More Soldier Esports Showdown events will take place at the BOSS Symposium in Indianapolis in July and at Fort Sill, Okla., in September.

Facebook-friendly version: 15 Soldiers got a taste of life as a professional gamer at Complexity Gaming headquarters at the GameStop Performance Center in Frisco, Texas. The Soldiers used video games to test hand-eye coordination, speed, decision making and dexterity, and also went head-to-head with professional gamers. Learn more about the Exchange and the U.S. Army Family & MWR's esports initiatives: https://wp.me/p9Q7PG-12b.

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 62nd-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.3 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at http://www.ShopMyExchange.com or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Marisa Wolfe at 214-312-5111 or wolfema@aafes.com.

Follow the Exchange:
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/shopmyexchange
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