319th Air Base Wing
GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D., June 3, 2015 – Intramural sports have been a staple of life on Air Force bases for a long time as a way for airmen to connect with each other and become more involved on base.
The new generation of airmen has found another way to achieve that same goal. A "gaming" airman here has fostered a new way to connect with his fellow airmen. Finding ways for airmen to connect is a vital part of the Air Force’s “wingmanship” teamwork concept.
Air Force Airman John Greenberg, a 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operator apprentice, said interactive video games helped him with his transition when he arrived here for his first Air Force duty assignment.
"The day I got here, the first question was, 'Do you play games?'" Greenberg said. "It's an instant conversation starter."
Greenberg said the other airmen in his shop play games as well, and this helped him feel like part of the team right away.
"I made instant friends with my entire shop," he said. "Sometimes, meeting new people can get awkward and gaming makes it easy to talk."
But an important aspect of any hobby is knowing how to balance time. Air Force Airman Brandon Wade, 319th Communications Squadron information assurance apprentice, said balancing his time isn't very hard. He just makes sure to take care of anything he needs to do for work first.
Greenberg also said balancing his time is easy.
"From 7:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon, all my time is devoted to work," he said, adding that he has a simple view of his priorities.
Mission Comes First
"The mission comes first," Greenberg said. "You have your positives and negatives with everything. It's just something you have to control."
Wade and Greenberg said accessibility is one reason why so many airmen are becoming gamers. "It's not just consoles," Greenberg explained. "It's everything from your phone to your computers and consoles."
"Almost everyone has a computer," Wade said. "If you have a laptop, you can access it anywhere, as long as you have Internet access. It could be raining and you can just go inside and play."
Wade and Greenberg both said they hope to see more organized tournaments to bring airmen together. Wade noted that gaming is similar to sports that have leagues and tournaments. "It's just a different type of sport," he added.
All the mental cooperation and teamwork required in sports also apply to gaming, Wade said.