Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas – Air Force Services Center and the Department of the Air Force Gaming achieved two major firsts Memorial Day weekend in San Antonio – the first Department of Defense Armed Forces Esports Championship and the inaugural Air Force Gaming Minor League Championships.
The gaming league was center stage at the inaugural FORCECON22 event at the new Tech Port Center and Arena in San Antonio May 28-29.
Follow-on facts: In the Armed Forces championship, Air Force Gaming took the title after going undefeated throughout the tournament, beating the Marine Corps Gaming and U.S. Army Esports teams to win the very first esports competition recognized by the U.S. government.
In addition to the esports Armed Forces Esports Championship featuring Halo: Infinite, and the Minor League Championships, the $10K Halo showdown powered by Rally Cry also took place.
Background: With more than 86% of Airmen between the ages of 18-34 identifying as gamers playing between four to 10 hours per week, Air Force Gaming helps promote resiliency, retention, teamwork, and mental well-being for service members around the world.
► Housed under the Air Force Services Center, AFG supports the Department of the Air Force’s resiliency and retention efforts through the creation of a global esports effort bringing Airmen and Space Professionals together through community experiences and competitive leagues.
► Since 2019, the DAF Gaming League has steadily added participants over two competitive seasons. More than 25,000 Total Force gamers participate, including active-duty Airmen and Guardians, National Guard and Reserve, as well as Defense Department civilians.
► AFSVC officials recently expanded the program by adding the minor league, similar to intramural sports minor league. The second league allows gamers of all ages, including retirees and young family members.
What they're saying:
► “This (Armed Forces) win means more for esports as a whole than it does for me, obviously it means a lot to me, but for esports this is the first federally recognized event,” said Senior Airman Cole Schlegel, DAF Gaming team. “So we are the roots, this is definitely going down in the history books. This is awesome to be a part of.”
► “One adage that I’ve always disliked is ‘it’s not about who wins or loses, it’s about how you play the game.’ But, with Air Force Gaming, it’s 100% true. We’re all about bringing our armed forces together, building communities and enjoying friendly, spirited competition along the way,” said Maj. Gen. Tom Wilcox, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center commander.
► "There isn’t a better vehicle to make esports history than through the official Armed Forces Sports programming and as host of the first ever federally recognized esports sporting event,” said Capt. Oliver Parsons, AFSVC deputy chief of DAF Fitness and Sports.
And the winners are:
► Inaugural Armed Forces Championship winners are Air Force Staff Sgt. Shane Posey/Posey, Buckley Air Force Base (AFB), Colorado; Staff Sgt. Trey Christensen/Trey, Kentucky Air National Guard; Senior Airman Cole Schlegel/Schlayygs, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas; and Airman First Class Allyson Stephenson/Commandstation, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
Team representatives from US Army Esports, Maine Corps Gaming, Navy Esports, Air Force Gaming, Space Force Gaming, and Coast Guard Gaming competed at the Armed Forces Championship.
► The inaugural Minor League Championships winners are The Hartford Yard Goats with Senior Airman Hayden Kelsey/Plum, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; Senior Airman Isaiah Monroe/Zaysmooth, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Specialist 3 Ethan Defrance/Ethn, Buckley AFB, Colorado were winners of the Rocket League championship. Team Roll Out with Senior Airman Ethan Harkey, Buckley AFB, and Airman First Class Timothy Craig, Minot AFB, North Dakota, winners of the Fortnite championship.
What's next: Be on the lookout for more competitive events and Armed Forces branch battles this year!
“After two seasons and the third season underway, the success of Air Force Gaming will keep growing, bringing Air Force and Space Force Gaming to our other military communities while empowering our community to practice, compete and build camaraderie, leadership and connectedness,” said Col. Christopher Parrish, AFSVC commander.
To keep current on the upcoming DAF Gaming season or to join, visit https://airforcegaming.com/, or see the latest highlights from the season on Facebook and Twitter.