Airmen, pros face off in video game competition

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Oz Suguitan
  • 452nd Public Affairs

Airmen and Marines joined the Joint Forces Initiative organization's Pro vs. GI Joe event at the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3 Expo, Los Angeles Convention Center June 13-15 to battle digitally on the most powerful recently released video game consoles in the freshest new games.


Airmen joined showgoers for five vs. five battles on Microsoft Xbox One consoles to play games in the EA Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, which are first-person shooters featuring realistic graphics weaponry, terrain and effects. Between the matches, Greg Zinone, founder of JFI presided over pushups contests with winners taking home professional video gaming gear.


During one of the aforementioned pushup contests, Lance Cpl. Huesea, aviation radar technician with Marine Air Control Squadron 1, participated and emerged victorious after 20 minutes of differing pushups, winning a limited edition LucidSound LS40 wireless gaming headset.


Another highlight of the expo was the participation of Tech. Sgt. Dustin J. Hoover, avionics instructor with the 372nd Training Squadron at Nellis AFB, and Senior Airman Teron L. Butler, health services manager 412 Medical Group, Edwards AFB in a tournament battle with pro gamers on stage at the Bethesda booth in the newly announced Quake Champions game, coordinated by Pro vs. GI Joe.


"It was a pride thing," said Hoover, "We pulled together and worked together… communicating well."


The Airmen's team emerged victorious after 3 rounds of 4v4 capture-the-flag battles against pros and members of the audience that were selected to participate.


"I think gaming is a good stress reliever, you can really manage your stress through it, " said Hoover about his win, "physical activity, eating right, and video games."


The E3 show restricts tickets available to the public. This year, sales were limited to 15,000 tickets for those outside of the gaming industry and press. JFI sponsored the tickets for the Airmen, allowing them to participate and attend the show.


JFI is a 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, which was developed during Zinone's wife's descriptions of troops relaxing by playing video games during deployment.


"Pro vs. GI Joe gives us the opportunity to do things that we normally wouldn't get to do," said Butler, "It really is an exciting experience. The fact that we have tickets at all is really amazing."