Beyond just being bored from COVID-19, Veterans are always looking for the next adventure. We caught up with some who have turned to airsoft to meet fellow Vets. Also, to have some fun while staying 6ft apart. Airsoft is a combat simulation using replica guns that shoot plastic BBs. They can sting, but it is mainly done for the thrill of preforming in tense conditions. SWAT and special forces use this as a training tool to simulate real situations. You can practice tactics such as: room clearing, holster draws, operating and firing against live opponents. Realistic airsoft guns have a blow-back mechanism to simulate the real function of a firearm. Additionally, there are also lower capacity magazines to simulate that 10 to 30 round magazine.
This won’t replace the sweet smell of burnt gunpowder on the range, but BBs are a lot cheaper. Plus, you can actually shoot your buddies in airsoft. We have brought you the direct words from two Veterans who have found a home in the same airsoft community.
From Marine Corps Veteran Andre Westerman:
In the Marine Corps, I was an 0842 Field Artillery Radar Operator. After I had EAS’d, I simply moved back home to go back to school. Adjusting back into the civilian life was, admittedly, a little difficult. I felt that I needed an active hobby to help deal with stress and also cope with the life changes. I decided to pick up airsoft as a hobby since we have a pretty large community in the Hampton Roads area. Ballahack Airsoft was the largest field in the area and wasn’t too far from where I lived.
Playing there, I actually found a great sense of community and even a little bit of camaraderie with other players. Similar to my time in the Marines, I made friends from diverse walks of life and experiences. I made close ties with other Veterans and current military members that I had been missing since I had gotten out. I ended up applying to work for Ballahack and got the job working part-time while I am in school.
In all honesty, the overall experience working in the airsoft industry is similar to my brief time as an Instructor at JWTC. When working as a Marshall at the field, you are keeping an eye on the safety of the players and their conduct. With the new players and first-timers, you have to teach or instruct them on how their gear and airsoft guns function. During gameplay, you can apply training you had received during your time in the military as well. For the most part, players are there to simply goof off, have a good time, play with friends, and also make new ones.
From Army Veteran Mike Stedman:
I have been playing at Ballahack since around 2011. It has always been my home field. After serving a little over 4 years in the Army and 2 tours overseas I got out and began to pursue my career in film. After obtaining a Bachelors and a Masters I saw a job posting for a Media Manager position at Ballahack. I started not too long ago at the field. My job is to run all the fields social media aspects. As well as to take both pictures and videos during gameplay. I also do filming with Christopher aka Swampsniper with our recent films being “Siren Head” and “I banned these weapons.”
One aspect I enjoy about this field is the community. It is one of the greatest in the industry. When new players come out, the community of players welcome them in and help them. I also enjoy the filming and photo taking aspect during gameplay. It gives me creative freedom to do anything or get that perfect shot. I would recommend Ballahack to anyone. Whether you are old or a brand new player this field is for you. There are also a lot of Veterans and active duty who play here on the weekends as well.
From Ballahack Airsoft:
Ballahack Airsoft is owned by Christopher Wratten who started the field back in 2007 and has been going strong for 13 years. Located in Chesapeake, Virginia, Ballahack Airsoft Field attracts players to battle it out on our 99 acre field. Whether you are a MILSIM veteran or a weekend warrior, we have it all: a great blend of wooded areas, micro terrain, swamps, and urban MOUT. There’s plenty of parking and staging at the Field. We’ve held events with over 700 players on a single day. Many people will use the interior staging area and others will stage right out of their vehicles. Inside the staging area is also the registration area and on-site Ballahack Pro-Shop. Many events are played here from a live action zombie event to our Wild West event.
“Our goal of the company is to create unforgettable memories and experiences with people greatest example of this would be our post apocalyptic survival event that draws thousands of players every year and give them a chance to choose thier own adventure story book like atmosphere or no two experiences will be the same” – Chrisopher Wratten.
Let us know
Have you played airsoft? What has been your experience? Shoot us a comment, and give Ballahack Airsoft’s website a visit by clicking here.