USC Gamers

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. (August 16, 2016) --- Two Airmen from March Air Reserve Base, Calif. and members of the University of Southern California College Football team met at John McKay Center on USC's campus to do video game battle on August 16, 2016.

            Senior Airman Brenden Casey, a loadmaster with the 729th Airlift Squadron, and Senior Airman Jose Magallanes, a knowledge operator with the 452nd Air Mobility Wing represented the base in six games of Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops III set in the popular Nuk3town map. The two Airmen played in all of the games, while the USC players rotated into the remaining five seats.

            The Pro vs. GI Joe event was sponsored by Joint Forces Initiative, a non-profit organization that facilitates matches between troops stationed worldwide and professional and college athletes. The organization's goal is to increase morale and connect with troops virtually through gaming.

            "When my wife was in Iraq, she said the guys there relaxed by playing video games in their down time," said Greg Zinone, Founder of JFI, "I knew athletes and we just put the two groups together."

            G.I. Joe vs Pro often partners with Microsoft retail stores for equipment and technical assistance during the events. Keaton Branch, community development specialist with Microsoft Store Century City, was at the event setting up the eight Xbox One gaming stations used during the virtual battle.

            "The job is to make sure that our stores are active stewards in our communities. We have these mobile game units that allow us to set up tournaments inside our store, or take them out into the community like this event," said Branch, "We make sure that they [G.I. Joe vs Pro] have access to all the resources that we provide. "

            Magallanes and Casey were excited to get on the Xbox One stations and get into the battle.

            Casey said that he enjoyed the friendly rivalry of the games and meeting up with the players.

            "They're in college and I'm in the military," said Casey, "It's a good opportunity to show some face and meet up with guys my age."