The United States Military Academy Paintball Team held its Spring â€™11 Combat Classic, The Battle of Pork Chop Hill this past weekend, with great success.Â We had nearly 700 players fill the roads and soggy campground of Lake Frederick, one of West Pointâ€™s Recreational Facilities. Vendors like Tippmann Sports, Eric Engler, Hornetâ€™s Nest, Blue Line Tactical, and Paintball Warehouse (who brought a MECHANICAL BULL!) set up shop Friday night and players began flowing in as soon as the gates opened. Parking is always at a premium and with the closing of one of the roads usually used ass parking it was even more difficult. Somehow, the players and the Cadets managed to fit everyone in with only a few ruts left in the grass!
Saturday morning started early as usual at 0600hrs to the sound of Artillery Simulators, the M249, and M240 machine guns. No one wakes up campers like West Point! Compressed air was open right at 0600hrs as well and was provided by QuickShot Paintball. They kept up full 4,500psi fills all weekend long as usual!Â At 0830hrs the Cadets put on a tactics demonstration before the opening ceremony. As a lone terrorist could be seen digging a hole for an IED, radio chatter could be heard over the loud speakers from a Sniper team asking for permission to engage. After receiving the go ahead, a lone shot rang out from somewhere in front of the crowd and the terrorist fell over! From the trees, a band of baddies made their way into the area and spied their newly returned to room temperature comrade lying in the open. Radio chatter was heard again and artillery rounds landed amongst them knocking most to the ground. After the last round fell, three returned to their feet and began rushing forward, firing from the hip. Suddenly, two well camouflaged soldiers popped up from the ground less than 50 meters from the crowd and smoked the bad guys, drawing an audible gasp from all! The sniper team then bonded quickly across the field, checking corpses on the way by, and exfiltrated into the wood line! What a way to start the day! With the crowd suitably pumped up, the Cadets conducted the safety brief and sent the players off to prepare for the 1000hrs start.
The player count was a little lopsided, so a few teams that had signed up to be Red were asked to play for Blue. (My new teammates and I on the Master Blasters make it standard practice to go where the Cadets ask us to in order to try to keep the game even and moved to Blue along with a few others). Once the game began, it was all uphill from thereâ€¦at least for one side. General Eric Engler commanded the Blue/U.S. Team and would have the unenviable task of attacking up the hill for the first day. The Red General, Douglas Decker of the Red Raiders, was defending the top. Doug has multiple wins under his belt on this chunk of land and his Red team was bound and determined to bring the fight to the Blues and not wait for the U.S. Forces to come to them! The Red Communist Chinese players still had to walk back up to their insertion point when shot or walk all the way down the hill, through the campground, and catch the hayride style shuttle the Cadets provided up the back side of the mountain. That did not seem to affect them all that much as the game was, according to the Cadets, very close when day one game play stopped at 1700hrs.
That evening, the Cadets hosted â€œBlack Knight Alleyâ€ where players could fire blanks through the M249 and M240 machine guns on a simulated shooting range. Paintball Warehouse held their bull riding competition for great prizes and players took the time to peruse the vendor area, socialize and recharge before the next day.
Day two started much like day one with the Cadets waking everyone up with a bang. Next time, I need to NOT tell them where I am sleeping so they donâ€™t place the Artillery simulator outside the door to my A-frame! (There are draw backs to being their coach.) After a quick safety brief, play began again at 0900hs with Blue taking its turn on top of the mighty mountain (AKA, â€œMr. Mâ€). Blue seemed to fair a little better this day as gravity worked in their favor and I took part in a couple of great sweeps across large chunks of the field. The only two tanks to make the game were both on the Red team and began showing their worth on Sunday when Redâ€™s base was at the bottom of the hill. Well, at least one of them made their presence felt on me that is for sure!
A break was called for about an hour while the Cadets re-set the tape lines for the final battle. When it kicked off, both teams started at the bottom of the hill and the only flag in contention at the end of the hour was at the very top of â€œMr. Mâ€! A tapeline down the center fed players up the hill toward the flag. The Red team flipped the control stick to their color early and then dug in. No. Really. They started building baracades out of old tree limbs and forming them into one large wall. The Blue team bided their time and waited until the last 15minutes of play to make their big push. RPS Marilizers and Premium paintballs flew in a virtual storm across the top of the hill where the control stick stood. Flanking moves by both sides stalled as the paintballs claimed their targets over and over again. At 1400hrs, the control stick still belonged to the Red team, sealing the win for them!
At the award ceremony, the winning general Doug Decker gave his MVT to Goshen Carnage and MVP to a young man known only as â€œSammyâ€. Eric Engler awarded his MVT to Norwich University Paintball and his MVP to CAP Crow from the Canadian team, Sudden Harm. The Cadets gave an E-gripped Alpha Black from U.S. Army Paintball, provided by Tippmann Sports, to Sammy the same young lad who had just been awarded MVP for the Red Team. They singled him out as having exceptional heart and stamina and was deserving of the gift. More prizes from Tippmann Sports as well as great gear provided by Paintball Warehouse, Valken Paintball, Hornetâ€™s Nest, Engler Custom Paintball, Blue Line Tactical, samples of paint from Nelson Paintball, BT Paintball and Empire Paintball, were either raffled off or tossed into the sometimes overly eager crowd. Lieutenant Colonel Huerter said goodbye to four senior Cadets who will become new Lieutenants at Graduation, and having known them for the past four years they will go on to do great things for this country. The team also said goodbye to LTC Huerter, CPT Thomas and MSG Blair Ferrier who have done like every good officer or non-commissioned officer should do; left the organization better than they found it.
If you missed this Spring game, mark your calendars for 15-16 October and watch the West Point Paintball Fanpage on Facebook or www.armypaintball.com for details on the Fall Game!
Players broke camp as the sun began to go down and war stories and lies continued to be told. Playing on this field after having run the program for nearly four years, I can see why folks make this a â€œBucket Listâ€ event. It is just too much fun and attracts a high caliber of â€˜baller. Mr. M is a challenge, and made even more difficult by the fantastically skilled teams that tried to scrape me off the side of him!
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Some pictures for this article were provided by Scenario Paintball TV. Check out the pics and video put out by those great guys and gal over at Scenario Paintball TV (SPbTV) here: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fscenariopaintballtv.blogspot.com%2F&h=c15fb
And on YouTube, here: http://www.youtube.com/user/SPbTV .
Pictures of the Master Blasters and Valken sponsored players provided by Valken.
The Master Blasters would like to thank our Sponsors:
- Valken Paintball: www.valken.com
- PSI Paintball Field: http://www.paintballsportsny.com/
- 68Caliber.com: http://68caliber.com/
- Nelson Paintballs: http://www.nelsonpaintball.com/
- Zodiac Paintball: http://www.zodiacpb.com/
Submission courtesy of Chris “Doobie” Dubois