ago today, the United States was
attacked by terrorists and over 3,000 of
our fellow citizens and visitors to our
country were killed, murdered in cold
blood. Many hundreds more were injured.
We remember them and their loved ones
praises and wishes to
encourage the men and women of our armed
forces who train and prepare daily toprotect us
at home and abroad.
PaintBall.com recently paid a visit to
Danger Zone Paintball at Fort Lewis, a
United States Army post near Tacoma,
Washington in the very northwest of the
Nick Goobin and his wife Denize are owners
and operators of Danger Zone Paintball.
Aside from providing recreational paintball
games to the public, their field is also
used to help
United States Army troops prepare for
specific types of military action using
Paintball is not a good fit for traditional
infantry, armor and artillery skills and
situations. It is, however, very useful in
simulated training situations for cavalry
troops who use small group maneuver and
mobility tactics and come in contact with
the enemy through ambush and in urban
situations; combat in close to the enemy in
unplanned or unexpected situations.
The need for a new approach to training
became apparent after the analysis of US
troop involvement in Somalia in the 1990s.
If you have seen the movie, Blackhawk
Down, you got a glimpse of what US
soldiers in Somalia faced and what they
need to be prepared to face in the future.
You can imagine a simulated village or city
and unexpected encounters between small
groups of opposing troops. If you have
seen the movie, We Were Soldiers,
imagine a large field paintball scenario
encounter with a group of players
surrounded and defending themselves from
attack after attack.
How will soldiers react to sudden, close in
contact combat? How will they
communicate? How will they react to loss
of on field leaders? How can they practice
the leadership and group skills they will
need to survive and be victorious? How
will they conserve their supplies so that
they can continue the battle until
reinforced or withdrawn?
At Fort Lewis, some leaders are using the
training potential of paintball equipment
to help answer the questions asked above.
Troops spend the morning in the classroomdiscussing the skills and tactics they will
use in the simulations on the paintball
field. In the afternoon they take
the “textbook” to the field and experience
the stress and duress of sudden ambush.
When the paintballs start flying, the
adrenaline kicks in and the simulation
becomes real, or as real as you can get
without lead bullets and the overpowering
noise and smell of a real firefight. Squad
leaders get to experience the “heat and
fog” of battle and the troops see the
importance of teamwork and communication to
survive. The best part of it is that they
can do it again and again until it
becomes “second nature,” without injuries
and at low cost.
When it comes to urban warfare, highly
trained teams can practice entering
buildings to clear them. They practice
a “room clearing” exercise that begins with
a clear plan to get them into the room and
eliminate the enemy without endangering
civilians. They enter through “the funnel
of death” which is their term for the
doorway. In short order the room or
building is “cleared.” In larger
structures with multiple rooms, they
practice “flow drills” to clear the
structure. They follow “the path of least
resistance” to eliminate the enemy within.
Other systems such as MILES (Multiple
Integrated Laser Engagement Systems) are
used for other training situations, but
anyone who has even had a “rec ball”
paintball encounter knows how the
adrenaline flows and how important
teamwork, leadership and communication are
to team victory. PaintBall.com salutes the
United States Army for its willingness to
take a look at the value of training with
paintball equipment for appropriate combat
Our appreciation and prayers go out to the
men and women of the United States Armed
Forces on this anniversary date of the
Attack on America. Thank you for your
dedication and willingness to put
yourselves “in harm’s” way to protect us,
our great nation and our way of life.
'Light Towers' photo