GAME RESULTS: 1ST ANNUAL TOP GUN TOURNAMENT
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published July 1988 in Front Line Magazine
Under partially cloudy skies and far from the traffic and pollution of the big city, Hit & Run of Scappoose, Oregon held it's 1st Annual Top Gun Tournament amid the picturesque countryside of its Alder Creek game field. Most contestants began arriving at the game field as early as 9 a.m. The tournament wasn't scheduled to begin until 10 a.m. (It seems as if some of the guys just couldn't wait to get started.) Rumor has it that the youngest contestant, a rambunctious 16 year old known as Steve "Bad News" Branson, camped out overnight on the game field, but so far no one has been able to come up with any evidence to support this rumor. (The paint-splattered G.I. Joe doll that was found out on the field that morning must have been left there by someone else.)
A few contestants rented field-issue Sheridan PGP's but, as expected, most brought their own paint pistols to the tournament. There were Nelspots, Pursuit PMI's, Carter Comps, and even a Nightmare. Bob Shano, the owner of the field, made certain that all pistols were chronographed, during which time it was discovered that one player had a "hot" gun. (It consistently shot over 300 feet-per-second.) This caused a slight delay, but after a quick adjustment of the pistol's regulator and one last trip to the chronograph range, things soon got underway. Contestants drew for their entry points and Bob signaled the start of the tournament.
Games 1, 2, and 3 involved the contestants in a kind of free-for-all elimination, with the object being to rack up as many kills as possible before the 45 minutes allowed for each game ran out. At the end of the third game, the finalists thus far were Mike Yates with five confirmed kills, Scott Thompson with three kills, and Scott Zinsli with three kills. The fourth finalist had yet to be decided. As fate would have it, four contestants, Wesley Marquis, Kevin Weil, Jamie Ross, and "Bad News" Branson, were tied with two confirmed kills each. The four of them would have to play another round of elimination in order to break the tie. Marquis became the fourth finalist when he won the match by eliminating all three of the other contestants.
The final event was a one-hour long individual game of "Capture the Flag". Wesley Marquis was the first contestant to secure a flag from the initial station. Meanwhile, Scott Thompson decided to bypass the first station and look for the next two. Thompson's plan was to lie in ambush at the third flag station and bushwhack the other contestants before backtracking to the initial station. His plan went haywire, however, when Marquis, acting on a hunch, fired at what he thought was a likely spot for an ambush. Coincidentally, the spot Wesley was shooting at turned out to be very close to where Scott was hiding. Thompson, assuming he had been seen, broke from cover and started to make a run for it. That's when Wesley shot him. Scott retired from the field with two flags and no kills. Having eliminated Thompson, the "Wily Old Wes" secured his third flag and set out to find the last station.
Elsewhere, Mike Yates was slowly closing in on his second flag while Scott Zinsli, ever so cautiously, was still inching his way toward the first flag station.
By now, Marquis had located and secured a flag from the last station and was running toward the home base. With his lungs about to burst and barely able to run, he entered the home base area and gasped, "Tell Bob I've got the flags!".
And so, having successfully captured all four flags and chalking up another kill in the process, Wesley Marquis was officially proclaimed the winner of the tournament and walked off with the grand prize, a Model .68 Magnum, which lists at , and a souvenir T-shirt. Wesley is 48, married with two children, and a long-time resident of Portland. He is also team captain for the Oregon Ballbusters and is planning to enter his team in Hit & Run's Top Team Tournament to be held, rain or shine, on August 6, 1988. The runner-up was Mike Yates, also of Portland, with two successful flag captures and no kills. He will receive a full year's subscription to his favorite paintball magazine.
GAME RESULTS: HIT & RUN TOP TEAM TOURNAMENT
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published October 1988 in Front Line Magazine
For the second time this year, I held a tournament on my gamefield, Hit & Run in Scappoose, Oregon. It was our very first Annual Top Team Tournament. When at last it was over, most of the participants were saying things like, "Good tournament, Bob!" or "Great job, Sarge!". But alas, the tournament was not without its fair share of problems and delays. To begin with, the Blue Balls showed up late so we had to wait around for their guys to gear up. Over on the firing line, we were finding out that several of the contestants had "hot" guns, so we had to wait until they had finished adjusting their regulators and had been retested on the chronograph. The photos I took of the tournament came out too dark. Overall though, I guess things ran pretty smooth. At least, that's what I was told. I don't remember a thing. Shell shock I guess. Anyway, things finally got rolling again when the team captains stepped up to draw for their fields. Rick Baird drew for his team, Ironmen I, Jay Craney drew for his team, Ironmen II, Wesley Marquis drew for the Oregon Ballbusters, Steve Culliton drew for Death "R" Us, Curt Williams drew for Assas-Attack, and Greg Bollinger drew for the Blue Balls.
In the first game of the opening round, the Oregon Ballbusters defeated the Blue Balls, Ironmen I beat Death "R" Us, and Ironmen II downed Assas-Attack. In the second game, Ironmen I beat Ironmen II, Assas-Attack downed Death "R" Us, and the Oregon Ballbusters defeated the Blue Balls. In the final game of the opening round, Assas-Attack defeated Ironmen I, Death "R" Us beat the Blue Balls, and Ironmen II downed the Oregon Ballbusters.
Ironmen I, Ironmen II, Assas-Attack, and the Oregon Ballbusters went on to play in the semi-finals. The Blue Balls and Death "R" Us had been eliminated during the opening round.
Just for the record, the Blue Balls, right up until the day of the tournament, had never played together as a team. And even though they knew they were bound to lose, they came out for the tournament anyway. in the true spirit of our beloved sport, they just came out to have some fun. For this, I salute them. As for Death "R" Us, I suspect they would have done better if Dan "Terminator" Sweet, one of their key players, had showed up for the tournament. Unfortunately, because of a last minute change in work schedule, Dan was unable to attend. Team alternate Dave Miller, a young rookie, had to substitute.
In the semi-finals, Ironmen I triumphed over the Oregon Ballbusters, while Ironmen II took on Assas-Attack and won.
In the finals, Ironmen II was wiped out to the last man by Ironmen I.
So there you have it. Our winner, Ironmen I, received the medallions and in cash. And our runner-up, Ironmen II, collected . Almost everyone received a welt or two as a memento of the occasion, including me, Bob Shano. I got shot twice as I was helping to referee the games. Occupational hazard, right?
BREAKING RECORDS AT HIT & RUN IN OREGON
Published April 1989 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Recently, Bob "Sarge" Shano had the pleasure of inducting another player into his Hit & Run Son-Of-A-Gun Club. The club's newest member is Greg Bolliger, who succeeded in racking up a total of 34 eliminations in a single day with his trusty old PMI-II. To become a member of the club, a player must break the last record set for the most eliminations scored in a single day's play. Men must break the last record set by a male player and women must break the last record set by a female player. Aida Bumatay currently holds the women's record with eight in one day. The man and women holding the record are both admitted free for as long as he or she continues to hold the record.
Each new member is awarded a medallion with an inscription on the back showing their name, the date they won it, and the number of opponents they zapped that day.
Membership in the Hit & Run Son-Of-A-Gun Club is permanent and forever entitles a player who has formerly held the record to a free tube of paint pellets every time he or she comes out to play at the Hit & Run gamefield. Former record holders include Steve Culliton with 19 eliminations, George Smothers with 22, and Wesley Marquis with 25.
Sarge also offers a men's and women's Top Gun Award which consists of a souvenir T-shirt and two free game passes. The man and woman with the most eliminations at the end of the month each receive this award.
Published May 1989 in PaintCheck Magazine
Congratulations to Greg Bolliger, the newest member of Hit & Run's "Son-Of-A-Gun" Club in Scappoose, Oregon. With a total of 34 kills in a single day, Bolliger broke the previous record of Wesley Marquis whose kills totaled 25. Perks for each successive record-breaker include free admission for as long as he/she holds the title and a medalion inscribed with his/her name, the date of the victory and the number of kills racked up. Even after another hotshot overtakes you, your membership in the club continues, entitling you to a free tube of paint every time you play. Women and men compete for separate titles. The current female record holder is Aida Bumatay, with 8 kills. At the end of each month, field owner Sarge Shano also confers the Top Gun Award to the man and to the woman with the highest kill count for that month, a special T-shirt and two game passes.
THE WIDE WORLD OF HIT & RUN
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published June 1989 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
"We're back, ladies and gentlemen. And we're just moments away from the start of the final game of the 1988 Oregon Cup. I'm here on location at the Hit & Run game field in Scappoose, Oregon, bringing you live up-to-the-minute coverage of this exciting event. And with me now is the owner and operator of Hit & Run, Bob "Sarge" Shano. So tell us, Bob, what made you decide to organize this event?"
"Well, Howard, it's like this. I was looking for a way to let the rest of the country know that paintball is alive and well in Oregon. As a matter of fact, Howard, there are several paintball fields throughout the state. Take Curt Williams over there. He runs a field over in Elmira called Splat Attack. And do you see those two lovebirds over there?"
"Do you mean the couple standing by the firing line?"
"Yeah. That's Garth and Kathy Bayer. They own and operate Oregon Coast Paintball, Inc. in Lincoln City. And do you see that little lady over there? Her name is Julie Vida. She runs a field in Molalla called Splat Action. Actually, Howard, there are a lot more paintball fields here in Oregon than most people realize. And did you know that the Phantom marking pistol is manufactured right here in Oregon?"
"I didn't know that."
"Well, it is. By a fellow in Aloha named Mike Casady. Why, that looks like him over there. Hey, Mike! Mike Casady! Come on over here for a moment."
"What's up, Sarge?"
"I was just telling Howard over here, when it comes to paintball, we Oregonians ain't exactly living in the Stone Age. Go ahead, Mike, tell him about the new semi-automatic pistol you're working on."
"Okay, Sarge. But first I want to congratulate you for organizing this game. It's good to see all the field operators together like this. This is just the sort of thing that's needed to improve the sport's image and promote its growth in Oregon. And as the sport grows, the demand for a wider selection of tournament level semi-automatic pistols will also increase. My contribution will be the Phantom-semi. Production is scheduled to begin very soon. Anyone interested in finding out more about it can call 1-800-447-0852."
"Thank you, Mike. We're going to take a short commercial break and we'll be right back."
PAINTBALL HAS HIT IT BIG AND IT CAN GET A LOT BIGGER. THE INTERNATIONAL PAINTBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION IS DOING ALL IT CAN TO KEEP IT GROWING. BUT THEY NEED YOUR HELP TO GET THE JOB DONE. THE I.P.P.A. IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION FORMED BY PLAYERS FOR PLAYERS AND IS DEDICATED TO HELPING THE SPORT OF PAINTBALL SURVIVE AND PROSPER. BECOMING A MEMBER OF THE I.P.P.A. MAKES GOOD DOLLARS AND SENSE. THE COUPON BOOK YOU RECEIVE WHEN YOU BECOME A MEMBER SHOULD SAVE YOU OVER . PLEASE JOIN AND HELP ENSURE THE FUTURE OF PAINTBALL. YOUR MEMBERSHIP FEE WILL HELP FUND THE WORK OF THE I.P.P.A. IN ITS EFFORTS TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE THE SPORT. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 1-818-883-3160 OR WRITE TO: INTERNATIONAL PAINTBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION, 6118 LEDERER AVENUE, WOODLAND HILLS, CALIFORNIA 91367.
"We're back. In case you just tuned in, we're waiting for the final game of the 1988 Oregon Cup to begin. Standing next to me now is the owner and operator of Hit & Run, Bob "Sarge" Shano. With him are Tracy Hankins and Russ Sanderlin from Chapter 392 of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. Bob, I understand you just donated in cash to the Foundation."
"That's right, Howard. I donated out of every entry fee to the Foundation."
"Tell us why, Bob."
"Why not? I'm a veteran myself. Some of the other guys out here are veterans too. The money that was donated will be used to help other veterans."
"I see. So you boys are just a harmless bunch of patriotic paintball players."
"One thing's for sure, Howard. We're not a bunch of militant radicals out to overthrow the government like some people are foolish enough to believe. Well, Howard, I have to run along now. It's almost time to start the final game between Hit & Run and Splat Attack. I'll see you around."
"And there he goes, ladies and gentlemen. Sarge is on his way to the game field. He'll be ready to start the final game in just a moment. And we'll be right back to bring you all the action after this commercial break. Don't go away."
THIS FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND, THE BEST TEAM PLAYERS IN THE LAND WILL COME FACE-TO-FACE AT LAST AS BOB "SARGE" SHANO HOSTS THE 1989 BATTLE OF THE ALL-STARS. IT WILL BE A BATTLE OF INDIVIDUAL SKILL, PLAYING ABILITY, MARKSMANSHIP, VALOR, AND SPORTSMANSHIP. AND IT WILL PROVE, ONCE AND FOR ALL, WHICH TEAM THE BEST PLAYER BELONGS TO. IS IT TEAM NAVARONE? THE BOONIE RATS? THE ASSASSINATION ASSOCIATION? LET'S FIND OUT! THE NUMBER TO CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION IS 1-503-543-3880.
"We're back again. We are standing by to bring you live coverage of the final game of the 1988 Oregon Cup. The team from Splat Attack will take on the team from Hit & Run in a game of "Capture the Flag". It looks like Sarge is about to toot the horn and start the game. There he goes. The game is on!
"Most of the players from the Hit & Run team took off running just as soon as the horn blew. They're headed for the ridge. It's been raining a little and it's getting slippery out there on the field. A couple of the Hit & Run players have fallen down. They're back on their feet and moving again. They're at the top of the ridge now. Wait a minute! I hear shooting. Shots are being fired and the sounds are coming from the other side of the ridge. The teams from Hit & Run and Splat Attack have made contact!
"The Hit & Run team is advancing. The Splat Attack team is increasing its rate of fire. They've halted the Hit & Run team's advance with a heavy barrage of paintballs. The Hit & Run team is taking casualties. They're losing ground! The team from Splat Attack is pushing them back! Some of the players from the Hit & Run team are pinned down by the streams of flying paintballs.
"Now the team from Splat Attack is advancing. Here comes Fred Carnahan, the captain of the team from Splat Attack. He has spotted the Hit & Run flag and is moving towards it. He's within a few short yards of the flag. The only person guarding it is Greg Bolliger. Carnahan has spotted Bolliger. Carnahan opens fire. Bolliger is hit. Wait! The pellet didn't break! Bolliger is still in. Carnahan fires again. It's another hit! And again the pellet doesn't break! Carnahan must be low on CO2. He's moving in for a closer shot. Bolliger should be shooting back but he isn't. It looks like he's having gun trouble. Carnahan is in position now. He fires. The shot has burst against Bolliger's leg. Bolliger is out!
"Now Carnahan is going for the flag. He's got it. He's shouting to his teammates and letting them know he's got the Hit & Run flag. The Splat Attack team carefully disengages. They're covering Carnahan's withdrawal. He still has the flag. He's being escorted by some of his teammates. They're heading back to their flag station. No one on the Hit & Run team seems to be aware of the fact that their flag has been snatched.
"The whistle just blew. Carnahan has hung the flag! That's it, ladies and gentlemen. It's all over. And the winner of the 1988 Oregon Cup is the team from Splat Attack. Congratulations, fellows."
3RD ANNIVERSARY PARTY AT HIT & RUN
Published October 1989 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
In May, Bob "Sarge" Shano threw a party to mark the 3rd anniversary of his gamefield, Hit & Run in Scappoose, Oregon. Admission was free and anyone 18 or older could attend. The guys played games, Sarge gave away prizes, Aida served cake, and Kacee did a dance. The celebration also included a potluck dinner and some dinner passes from the Dandelion Pub in downtown Portland.
Sarge says "Thanks" to everyone who came to the party and hopes to see you all again next year.
NAMES AND NUMBERS
Part 1 written by: Dennis "The Menace" Dennison
Part 2 written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published October 1990 in PaintCheck Magazine
PART 1 - They came from all over the state of Oregon, the northwest, and even New Zealand to assemble at Hit & Run Paint War Games in Scappoose, Oregon, for the six hour Super Game II. The 170 players were divided into red and blue squads to do battle in the rain and mud. Host Bob "Sarge" Shano organized plenty of excitement, including airborne assaults and motorized attacks. Sarge dedicated the game to his friend and fellow paintball player Greg Bollinger, who is battling cancer and was unable to play.
Super Game II's rules allowed for an unlimited number of player lives; if you were hit, you went to the staging area, checked in and were released back onto the field. The judges made sure that no one was lying in ambush for returning players. Each team had three primary objectives; all flag stations were equipped with both a red and blue flag; on assuming control of a particular base, the capturing team would place their flag at the top position to show capture. The teams were to capture and hold as many objectives as possible. The red team was declared the winner, overwhelming the blues during the last hour of platy, possibly because the blues were left short-handed after a few teams left earlier than planned.
PART 2 - More recently, Hit & Run held its 3rd Annual Top Gun Tournament; 14 contenders vied for the coveted trophy. At the end of the opening rounds, the four finalists were Darrin Ulven, a shoo-in with six confirmed eliminations; Brad Bird, Dan Bonebrake, and Marc Kidwiler. Brad Bird, a member of the Deuces Wild paintball team, was the eventual winner, capturing all four flags. Brad later thanked the Sarge who literally had had to talk him into entering the contest.
HIT & RUN'S SUPER GAME II
Published December 1990 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
"My name is Larry Wallace. I was the Red Army general and we had just captured the Village. I left a small detachment behind to secure it and sent the others across the Bridge to attack the Fuel Dump. We quickly overran the Blue Army defenders. Both the Village and the Fuel Dump were ours. We continued our advance. Our next objective was the Fire Base where we encountered strong enemy resistance. We were decisively engaged in a fierce firefight with the Blues when, all of a sudden, the 'Renegades' showed up and attacked our rear. At the same time, we were bombarded by the helicopter with paint grenades and shot at by the door gunner. We were hopelessly trapped. We were completely wiped out."
"My name is Lynda Bird. I was one of the Renegades. I had a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed the helicopter ride. It was better than any roller coaster ride I've ever been on. It was fantastic. Whenever we flew over a group of players on the ground, they would all scatter and run for cover. The pilot would lay the helicopter over on its side and the door gunner would rain paint down on them. The gunner was having a field day. So was the pilot. We were all having a lot of fun. I just can't wait until next year's Super Game."
"My name is Steve Austin. I was the helicopter door gunner. My assignment was to shoot at every player in sight. We had just dropped off the last of the Renegades. The way I figured it, they were fair game too. I told the pilot to turn around and make a pass over the drop zone. When we were right over the drop zone, I opened up and let them have it. You should have seen the look on their faces. I took them completely by surprise."
"My name is John Edge. I was a gunner on one of the armored scout cars. It was great. Everywhere we went we would run into an ambush. It was the most fun I ever had getting shot. Wait until I tell the guys back in Australia about this."
"My name is John Wallace. I was with the Red Army. We had three Blue Army players on the run. We were hot on their heels. One of them jumped in the Bunker. The others kept on running. My partner continued to give chase. I dropped out of the race and concentrated on the lone Blue in the Bunker. I slowly closed in on the Bunker and looked inside. That's when I saw him. 'Surrender!' I yelled. He spun on his heels and made a run for the door. I fired. The ball hit him in the leg. 'I'm out!' he declared. One down and two to go. I joined my partner at the Fuel Dump. By that time he had nailed the other two Blues. Oh, well. That's the way it goes."
"My name is Kirk Trombla. I was with the Blue Army. The 'Reds' had a group of us pinned down near Fort Apache. They had us surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered. It was like Custer's Last Stand. They massacred us. I took out five Reds before they finally got me."
"My name is Pat Weidinger. I was one of the Renegades. When we attacked the Village, I was shooting at the 'Reds' in one of the buildings. There were four of them inside. I watched my captain pull out a paint grenade, lay his weapon down and rush the building. He lobbed the grenade through the window and hugged the side of the building. Then he waited. Time stood still. Finally, a voice inside the building said, 'Hey, somebody chucked a grenade in here. I'm hit.' 'So am I,' said another. 'Me too,' said the third. And then the last one said, 'I'm out too.' It was awesome. He got all four of them."
"My name is Allen Archer. I was one of the referees. When it comes to a game as big as this one, you can never have too many refs. There were a lot of people out there. Too many people. There were paintballs flying everywhere. Sometimes a player would get shot several times by several different people before he'd even get a chance to call himself out. Big games can really get intense. Things can get pretty wild."
"My name is Bob Shano. Call me 'Sarge'. I was the game operator and learned a few things from all of this. We had some problems. It took too long to get the players signed in. That's because I allowed walk-ons in the game. It took time to collect their fees, add their names to the register, assign them to a team, etc. Next year, I'm going to require all players to pre-pay and pre-register so that team assignments are made well in advance and we don't have to bother collecting last minute entry fees.
We didn't start the game on time. It took too long to move the players through the chronograph station. Next year, I will triple the number of chronographs and operators.
There was a problem with resurrected players getting ambushed as the reentered the field. Next year, I'll have two resurrection stations instead of just one. I will locate one station at each of the neutral command posts. Players will be able to resurrect and reenter the playing field from their own command post. That should solve the ambush problem.
There was also a problem with entire teams of Blue Army players running out of paint and leaving early. This left the Blue Army hopelessly outnumbered with very little chance of a victory. Next year, I intend to split the teams up, with one half on the side of the Blue Army and the other half on the side of the Red Army. Then, when a team runs out of paint and decides to leave early, both the Blue Army and the Red Army would experience an equal loss of manpower with neither side gaining a numerical advantage.
The biggest problem occurred during the final hour of the game. It involved certain individuals who blatantly disregarded field policy and the rules of play, to include the reckless detonation of home made explosives, repeated failure to respond to paint checks, and continuing to fire at eliminated players long after they had called themselves out. In the future, I will change the format of the Super Game from 'open' to 'invitational' and will only allow responsible players and reputable teams in the game."
STEVE GREEN WINS 1990 MVP AWARD
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published April 1991 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
The "Dueces Wild" have been the home team of Hit & Run Paintwar Games since the spring of 1989. They're everything a paintball team should be. They've done an excellent job representing their field and our sport. I'm very proud of each and every one of them and I'm delighted to have them for my home team. They're a great bunch of guys. (That goes for you too, Lynda.) Any one of them could qualify for some kind of an award, but recently I had to choose between them and pick the winner of the 1990 Most Valuable Player award.
Only a member of the home team is eligible to receive the MVP award. It has to go to someone who has been on the home team for at least six months, has an excellent attendance record, is a good sportsman, is honest, loyal, team oriented, and a skillful player.
I picked Steve Green for the award. He deserved it more than anyone else. What I appreciate most about Steve is the fact that he always plays fair and is always willing to help out new players. Steve got a trophy and free game pass good for one year. He will also get to be the door gunner on the helicopter for our big game in April. Steve is 36 and lives in Portland, Oregon. He owns a Piranha paintball gun from Pursuit Marketing, Inc. and shoots orange Nelson paint.
BRINGING HOME THE BACON
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
As told by: Ken "The Rabbit" Adams
Published June 1991 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
We're playing "Capture The Flag" at the Hit & Run paintball games in Scappoose, Oregon. I'm a member of the Blue Team. And I'm here at the Fire Base with the rest of my teammates waiting for the game to start.
Our captain has worked out a plan for capturing the enemy flag. He'll take half of the team with him to assault the enemy flag station. The others will remain at the Fire Base. They will stay behind to guard our flag. I am part of the group chosen for the assault. And I'll be walking point.
Our captain informs us that the Reds are at the Fuel Dump. I know the place. There are four sandbag bunkers there and a tower with room enough for a half-dozen players. The area is teeming with natural camouflage. The Reds could be hiding anywhere. I feel the hairs rise on the back of my neck. I turn to my teammates. "Brace yourselves," I tell them. "We could be in for a real rough time." With that said, I check the hopper of my Phantom marking pistol to make sure it's full.
There's the starting horn. The game is on!
I'm off and running. My teammates are hot on my heels. I see something up ahead. It's the Blockhouse. I and the others quickly slow down. We all have our eyes peeled for the enemy. This is a good place for an ambush.
Just beyond the Blockhouse I can see the Spider Hole and the Crow's Nest. The Spider Hole looks empty. I fire a hail of shots through one of the gun ports just to be on the safe side. Nothing. It's empty alright. I look back up at the Crow's Nest. It must be at least 25 feet off the ground. I strain to see if anyone's up there. I move in for a closer look. Suddenly, a shot rings out. It barely misses me. There's someone up there alright. I warn the others. They cover me as I work my way into position.
Soon, I am directly beneath the Crow's Nest. Through a gap in the floor I can see part of someone's boot. I take aim and fire. "Bingo!" A direct hit. What's this? The ball didn't break. Oh, oh. I'm really in for it now. There's no chance of escape without getting drilled in the back.
Wait a minute! "Did he just call himself out," I ask myself, "or am I hearing things? What's going on here?"
I soon have my answer. The Red is having gun trouble. I holler up at the Red in the Crow's Nest. "Hey, guy," I boast. "You should've got a Phantom." The Red leans over the edge and glares down at me. The guy turns out to be a gal. "Oops, sorry about that." Time to move on. Next stop, Fort Apache. The last time I was at Fort Apache I wound up on the receiving end of a paint grenade. "Nuts to that!"
I can see it now. Just beyond the fallen log. That's Fort Apache alright. Someone once told me it was possible to fit an entire fire team inside the place. "It's big," I think to myself, "but not that big." Then again, looks are often deceiving.
I move in for a closer look. The rest of the team follows. I peer into the darkened loopholes and for a split second I see him. I duck just in time as a barrage of paintballs hurtles my way.
I only saw one of them, but there's more than one Red in there. At least three. It's going to take a grenade to get them. I still have one left. I'll have to get a lot closer to use it though. I signal my intentions to the team captain. He deploys the team to give me plenty of cover fire. My teammates are really pouring it on! They're doing a fine job of keeping the enemies heads down. Now's my chance. I pull the pin and rush the fort.
I hit the dirt less than 20 yards away and let the grenade fly. A Red sees me! He aims his paintball gun and prepares to fire. Too late. The grenade goes off and gets him first. "Whew! That was close." We leave Fort Apache and the eliminated Reds behind as we continue on to the enemy flag station.
I look at my watch. 20 minutes left in the game. So far so good. Our team hasn't lost a single player yet. "Oops!" I spoke too soon. Didn't see that sniper in the tree. I got him, but not before he got my team captain.
The captain's replacement takes over. He tells me to quit daydreaming and keep my eyes open. I take point again and he gives the order to move out.
Now we've reached the Fuel Dump. My teammates watch over me as I move in for a closer look. I can see all four sandbag bunkers and the dreaded Watch Tower. The place looks completely deserted. I scout around. Nobody in the bunkers. Nobody in the tower. How about that? It is deserted. I give the all clear and reach for the flag.
Somebody starts to holler, "Don't touch that..." Too late. The mine goes off and thoroughly splatters me with paint. "Those dirty Reds," I grumble. "They booby-trapped their flag." Tricky little devils, those Reds. I call myself out and head back to the staging area to clean all the paint off my goggles and my paintball gun.
It took a while, but I finally got all the paint off my Phantom marking pistol. Now I'm ready to test-fire it on the known-distance target range. First at 10 yards. Sweet! Next at 20 yards. Dead on! Finally at 30 yards. Just like new! Now I'm cooking. I put the safety plug back in the barrel and return to the Staging Area.
When I get there, everyone is still talking about the game. The Reds won it, I discover. They took almost everyone along to attack the Blue Team flag station. They overran the Fire Base and captured our flag. On the way back to the Fuel Dump they ran into the remaining Blues. The Reds managed to keep the Blues pinned down long enough for the flag carrier to get back to the Fuel Dump and hang the flag. "Oh, well," I sigh. "Better luck next time."
Here comes "Sarge", the field operator. It's time for another game. We'll be playing "Capture The Flag" again. This time, the Red Team flag station will be at the Hanoi Hilton. The Blue Team flag station will be at Fort Laramie.
Before too long, we find ourselves at Fort Laramie. Our team captain, fresh from the Dead Zone, outlines his general plan of attack. This time, we'll meet the enemy head on with the entire team. "Fight fire with fire," he says. He puts me back on the point. The horn blows. The game is on!
I make my way through the thicket. The rest of the team follows.
I reach a gravel road and cross it. Up ahead lies the Bunker. It's empty. I walk on past it and begin working my way uphill towards the Trenchline. We're almost there now! We're getting closer to the enemy.
I hear something. I crouch and stop to listen. Now I can't hear it anymore. After making sure the coast is clear, I move on.
There's that noise again! False alarm. It's just a pine squirrel foraging for nuts. I breath a sigh of relief and continue on to our objective.
Just a few more yards to the Trenchline. "Ouch!" Someone just bounced a paintball off my noggin. I didn't hear it but I sure felt the ball hit. The guy's using a silencer. "No break!" I yell as I look down at the unbroken paintball lying at my feet. I quickly duck behind a tree. Suddenly, a wall of Reds emerges from the brush just beyond the Trenchline.
"Well, captain," I say to myself as I level my gun and fire. "You wanted to meet the enemy head on, so now's your chance." I manage to take a couple of the Reds with me before I'm hit.
It isn't long before I am joined by several of my teammates back at the Dead Zone. The Reds controlled the high ground. That gave them the advantage. They managed to make short work of my surviving teammates. With nobody back at Fort Laramie to defend our flag, the Reds won it easily.
Here comes Sarge again. "It's lunch time," he tells everybody.
"I'll second that," I say. Why not? I'm hungry. I was running late this morning so I didn't have time for breakfast. I didn't even have time to pack a lunch. I wasn't worried about it though. I knew I could always buy something to eat at the Snack Bar. Those donuts sure look good. "I think I'll try a couple," I resolve.
During lunch, I track down the Red with the silencer that nailed me in the last game with the ball that didn't break.
"Tough luck," I tell him. "The ball just didn't break. It was a nice shot though. I never heard it coming."
"Yeah, these are great little silencers," he comments.
"Where'd you get yours?" I ask.
"I brought it right here at the Pro Shop," he tells me.
"Is that so?" I say just before I head over to the Pro Shop to buy one of my own.
Lunch is almost over and I just can't wait to try out my new silencer. Here comes Sarge. Time for another game. "This time," he says, "the Red Team flag station will be at the Bunker. Your team," he tells our captain, "will be in the Village."
The Village. "That's great!" I tell myself. I know, from personal experience, that the Village is tough to take. I know it and, judging from the way he's smiling, so does my team captain. "Let's go," he says. Me and the other Blues trail along behind him as he heads back out onto the game field.
Along the way, our captain outlines his plan. He is certain the Reds will attack in force. If they expect to win, they won't have any other choice. He'll see to that. His plan is to wait until they come to us. He hopes to wear down the opposition and counter with a last minute frontal assault against their flag station. He'll have to time this just right.
Before long, we reach the ravine. Now we must cross Liberty Bridge to get to the Village on the other side. Liberty Bridge is approximately 50 feet long. It's a 3-rope bridge suspended about 20 feet above a mountain creek. As I cross it, my thoughts wander. Almost five years, I recall. That's about how long I've been playing at Hit & Run. I like the field. Did I say, "like"? I love it! I have a lot of fun here and I've made lots of new friends.
My thoughts are interrupted by the voice of my team captain. He's calling me. He wants me and a teammate to take up a defensive position on the second floor of the two-story farmhouse overlooking the bridge. He will assign at least one defender to each of the six cabins located on the position. He will keep five defenders with him as reserves and deploy the others along the perimeter.
Shortly after everyone is in position, the horn blows. Nothing to do now except wait.
Several minutes go by. No sign of the enemy. And then, across the ravine, I see them. About six Reds.
"Where are the others?" I ask my partner. He looks at me and shrugs.
The six Reds deploy along the far side of the ravine and open fire. Their paintballs lob across the gorge and splat against the farmhouse wall. My partner and I return fire.
For several minutes, my companion and I trade shots with the enemy. Then suddenly, all hell breaks loose. A horde of Reds emerge from the underbrush just north of the Village and launch an all out assault. I realize now that the six Reds on the other side of the ravine were only a diversion. While we were distracted, the remaining Reds circled around and sneaked up behind us.
The enemy assault catches my captain off guard. He quickly pulls himself together and sends in his reserves. Though they manage to slow the Reds down, they ultimately fail to halt the enemy blitz.
The air is thick with paint pellets. Our captain frantically calls for more reinforcements. In a last ditch effort to halt the onslaught, he pulls everyone off the perimeter and thrusts them into the fray.
The battle rages for several long minutes. When the dust settles, there's only me, my captain, nine other Blues, and just 14 minutes left in the game.
"Nothing left to do now," our captain decides, "except to try and capture the enemy flag. But first," he reminded us, "we're going to have to get past those six Reds on the other side of the gorge." He glances at his watch. "There's just not enough time left in the game to go around them, so we're going to have to fight our way through them. Let's get ready."
I reload and insert a fresh CO2 cartridge as our captain proceeds to cook up a plan. "I'll lob a smoke grenade into the ravine," he tells us. "On my signal, we'll cross under cover of the smoke screen. Some of us are bound to get through. After all," he says, "we outnumber them almost two to one."
We watch our captain reach into a cargo pocket and pull out a smoke grenade. He checks to see which way the wind is blowing and enters a shallow gully. He crawls to a vantage point upwind from the unsuspecting Reds. He pulls the pin on the grenade and lets it fly.
A thick lingering cloud of white smoke soon forms along the bottom of the gorge. The captain waves everyone forward. "Hang on to your socks," I tell everyone. "This is it." Without another word, my teammates and I drop down into the smoke-filled ravine and advance through the haze.
By now, the Reds are on to our plan. They pepper the dense cloud of smoke with paint pellets. Though unable to see what they were shooting at, the Reds still manage to inflict several casualties.
When we emerge from the smoke, we are on the other side of the gorge. My few remaining teammates and I pour on the paint and press ahead.
Casualties are mounting rapidly on both sides. Only a couple of Reds left. My few surviving teammates keep them occupied as I charge up the slope and rush them. Got one, but not before he shoots and eliminates two of my teammates. The other Red sees me, but not soon enough. I zap him too.
When it's over, the only ones left from the Blue Team are me and the captain.
"It's up to us now," I look at him and say.
He looks at his watch. "Let's hustle," he urges. "There's only eight minutes left in the game." He takes off for the enemy flag station and I run along behind him.
We stop when we are almost at the Bunker. In the distance, I can see the Red flag dangling from a yellow rope.
"It's real quiet out there," I say.
"Too quiet," says the captain.
"I smell danger."
He nods. "So do I," he says.
"Why don't we take a look around," I suggest.
"No time for that," he says. "You stay here and I'll go in alone."
"That's suicide!" I exclaim.
"We don't have time for anything else," he tells me. "You cover me and I'll make a grab for the flag. Get ready."
"I've got you covered," I assure him. I watch as he prepares to make a mad dash for the flag. "Good luck, captain."
He turns to look at me and says, "If I don't make it, do me a favor."
"What's that?" I ask.
"Just bring home the bacon." And with that, he turns on his heel and dashes for the flag.
Soon after, a shot rings out. He's hit. He stares down at the splotch of yellow paint on his chest. "I'm out," he declares and walks off with upraised arms.
So the Reds left someone behind to guard their flag after all. "But where is he?" I wonder. I poke my head out to take a look and almost get it shot off. "He's close," I conclude. "Real close."
I jump at the unexpected bark of a pine squirrel. The sound is very close. Pine squirrels are very territorial and don't care much for intruders. I assume he's barking at me. Wait a minute! He's looking the other way. He's barking at something in that tree. I look up. I see something. A red armband. It's him. And he's wearing a Ghillie suit. He sees me. He takes aim and fires. I duck and roll just in the nick of time. Then I pop back up and make full use of my Phantom's auto trigger.
With no place to run, the Red in the tree is a sitting duck and I soon eliminate him.
I go for the flag. "Got it!" Now all I have to do is get back to the Village and hang it. I look at my watch. Only a few minutes left. No time to waste. I run back to the Village as fast as I can.
I soon reach the ravine. Now I have to get across and hang the flag. I stop a moment to catch my breath. I glance at my watch. There isn't much time left. It's now or never. I take one more deep breath before I put my Phantom down and begin my descent into the ravine.
I stagger down the muddy slope and tumble to the bottom, clinging firmly to the flag. I spring to my feet and clamber up the opposite slope. My lungs feel like they're about to burst.
I finally reach the top. Time is running out. There's the rope! I'm practically within arms reach of it. Only seconds remaining. Must hurry!
It takes every last ounce of strength I have to stand up and stumble over to the rope. I manage to hang the flag just before the horn goes off and signals the end of the game.
I'm exhausted. I collapse and fall flat on my back. I just lie there with my eyes closed.
"You okay?" a familiar voice asks.
I open my eyes and look up through steamy goggles to see Sarge looming over me. "Never felt better," I gasp. "Just need a minute to catch my breath."
"I guess you earned that much," he shrugs. "That game came down to the wire."
"Don't I know it."
He extends an arm and pulls me up on my feet. "Come on," he says. "Go get your gun and let's head on back. Everyone's going to want to hear how you single-handedly captured and hung the flag."
"Think so?" I ask.
HARD TO KILL VOTED BEST SPORTSMEN
Published March 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
After polling all the field judges who officiated at the 1991 Top Team Invitational, the Best Sportsmanship Award was presented to Hard To Kill, a 10-man paintball team from Portland, Oregon. Only the field judges were allowed to vote on their choice for the award. Bob "Sarge" Shano, the tournament director, and Steve Culliton, the head referee, abstained from voting.
The tournament was held at Hit & Run Paint War Games in Scappoose, Oregon. Slug Death of Sequim, Washington took first place. Phantom Force of McMinnville, Oregon took second. Both these teams also received high marks for sportsmanship.
TRAINING WITH THE OREGON NATIONAL GUARD
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
As told by: Brad "Chief" Bird
Published March 1992 in Paintball Fever
Published March 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Since the day I first heard about it, I could hardly wait. Me and five other members from our paintball team, the Deuces Wild, would play against a twelve-man detachment of Infantry Scouts from the local Army National Guard unit.
That Saturday morning, the six of us checked in at our home field, Hit & Run Paintwar Games in Scappoose, Oregon. Bob "Sarge" Shano, the field operator, informed us that the Scouts had come out the night before to set up camp and reconnoiter the playing field.
Before getting started, Sarge explained the rules of play. They were quite different from the rules we were accustomed to. To begin with, all hits would count, regardless of whether or not the ball broke. Only a direct hit to the head or body would count as an elimination. Arm and leg hits counted as wounds only. A wounded arm could not be used to shoot or signal with. A wounded leg could not be used to walk or stand on. Also, a gun or radio that had been hit could not be used. According to Sarge, it was okay to fake a truce or pretend to surrender. He also told us it was okay to take prisoners. He gave us secret documents to carry in our pockets and told us to use red paintballs only, because it looked like blood.
At first, I didn't quite know what to make of all this. Sarge explained. He told us that the Scouts were here to train and he wanted to make the training as realistic as possible so that they would get the most out of it. He urged us to come down hard on the Scouts. "They're going to make a lot of mistakes," he said, "but that's no reason for you guys to pull any punches. They're here to learn from their mistakes. In a real fire fight, they won't get a second chance."
As we tucked away our secret documents, Sarge filled us in on our first assignment. "You will defend the Fuel Dump in Sector H," he said. "The Scouts will attack the position. If the Scouts wipe you out, it's all over. Any questions?" he asked.
Once we understood what we had to do, we headed for the Fuel Dump. Mark Russum, our team captain, led the way. When we reached the Fuel Dump, a couple of us took up positions near the tower. Some of the guys settled in near the blockhouse and the bunkers. Our team hoser, Kevin Easley, alias "Berserker", hid in the brush beyond the perimeter.
Some time later, we saw the Scouts slowly approaching our position. Their first mistake was obvious. They had split up into three groups of four. When they attacked, they were too spread out to support each other. Also, they didn't have anyone covering the rear. That was their second mistake. Kevin was able to get behind them and take out over half of them. They were supposed to wipe us out, but we wiped them out instead. We lost our team captain and I was wounded during the engagement, hit in the right arm. I'm right-handed, so it felt strange pumping and shooting my Sheridan rifle with my left hand. When the Scouts were hit, they had to fall down and play dead. There were bodies with big red splotches on them lying all over the field. The place began to look like a real war zone. It was bizarre.
Sarge called the Scouts together and discussed their performance with them. We were also called upon to offer our comments and suggestions. We knew we would be. Sarge had informed us earlier in the day to be prepared to critique the Scouts. "Tell them what they did right and tell them what they did wrong," he told us. "Don't think you're doing them any favors by trying not to hurt their feelings," he went on to say. "Don't mince words. Tell it like it is."
After concluding his discussion with the Scouts, Sarge gave us our next assignment. "You will move to Sector G and search the area for targets of opportunity. Stay on your toes and watch out for ambushes," he cautioned. "Any questions?" There was no need for further explanation. We all understood what to do.
About ten minutes after the Scouts left, we went looking for them in Sector G, an area thick with ferns and alder trees. We refer to the place as "The Badlands". It's the perfect place for an ambush and we all knew it. We cautiously plodded our way through the underbrush, expecting at any moment to be bushwhacked at pointblank range. I was walking point. The tension mounted. Suddenly, I saw something move. About thirty yards downhill from where I was standing, I caught a glimpse of one of the Scouts shifting into a better firing position. Just as I called out to warn the others, a shot fired from less than five feet away hit Kevin in the arm. We immediately sprang into action. A couple of our guys opened fire and took out the Scout that nailed Kevin.
Just up the hill from where I was, some of the other guys on the team encountered a couple of more Scouts and quickly eliminated them. The Scout I had spotted took a few shots at me and I began to move up on him. As I was closing in, someone on my left took a pot shot at me, which barely missed. I kept moving up on the Scout below me and resolved to take him out first, which I did. I then looked back just in time to see my teammate, Steve "Roach" Green, get the Scout that had nearly got me.
While I was watching Steve, someone fired a shot that barely missed my head. I ducked behind a tree stump, then poked my head out to take a look around. I couldn't see anyone. A moment later, I poked my head out again and got shot right in the neck from about ten feet away. It hurt like hell! Sarge ran over to see how I was. The pellet had broken the skin and I was bleeding a little. "That's what you get for not wearing a neck protector," Sarge growled as he flushed the wound with water from his canteen. "You're lucky the guy only had a PGP." He had a point. I guess I learned my lesson.
Since I had been hit in the neck, I had to lay there and play dead while my surviving teammates mopped up what was left of the Scouts. I didn't mind. After taking that hit in the neck, I needed a short break.
As expected, my team came out on top. Sarge gathered the Scouts together and told them what they did wrong. Once again, they had spread themselves too far apart to support each other. They didn't communicate, they didn't work as a team, and they didn't have a contingency plan when their ambush failed.
"You have to pin down the enemy and trap him in your kill zone," Sarge told them. "You failed to do that because you had too many guys firing at the same target. You have to cover the entire kill zone and deprive the enemy of his freedom of maneuver. Furthermore," he continued, "it's going to take more than pot shots to pin down the enemy. It's going to take firepower. In other words, everybody has to open fire at the same time. Shoot low," he added. "Aim for the belly and not the face, otherwise you're going to miss and shoot over the target's head. You have to make the first shot count because the chances are you won't get another."
After conferring with the Scouts, Sarge called us over and gave us our next assignment. "The Scouts will occupy and defend Dogpatch," he informed us. "You will assault and overrun it. Any questions?" There were none. Our task was obvious, but it wasn't going to be easy. Dogpatch is a mock village consisting of six cabins and a two-story farmhouse. A tough nut to crack on any day of the week, it was going to be even tougher since the Scouts were defending and outnumbered us two to one. We were starting to feel a little apprehensive.
Mark, our captain, mapped out our strategy. His plan was to gain a foothold in the village and take it over one building at a time.
After some very intense house-to-house combat, we wiped out the Scouts and took over the village. We only lost one man during the encounter. However, the Scouts were obviously getting better. They were learning to communicate and work as a team. That worried us.
After some discussion, the scenario was repeated. We altered our plan of attack. This time, two of our guys attacked one end of the village to divert attention while the rest of us sneaked up behind them and attacked the rear.
We took the Scouts completely by surprise. Nonetheless, they held on and we only managed to take over one building. The Scouts eliminated four of us. Mark, our captain, eliminated himself when he charged the farmhouse and tripped while attempting to throw a paint grenade through one of the windows. The grenade missed the window and bounced off the wall right back at him. And with that final game, in which the Scouts emerged victorious, the day came to an end. Regrettably, it was time for the Scouts to return to the armory and resume their regular duties.
When it was over, we could tell right away that the Scouts were hooked on paintball. They all had a great time and really enjoyed the game. They liked our home field too. Hopefully, this is only the first of many opportunities we will have to train with the Scouts. It was a real pleasure meeting them and we all look forward to seeing them again soon. They're a fun group.
PAINTBALL HELPS UNITED WAY
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published April 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Hit & Run Paintwar Games of Scappoose, Oregon recently held its 4th Annual United Way Benefit and Trade Show. Players and their families were invited to attend. Several guest speakers talked with the children.
Ken Houser, a member of the Scappoose Fire Department, talked to the kids about fire prevention. Pete McHugh, the principal of the Scappoose Grade School, talked to them about personal health and fitness. McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog talked about drugs and crime prevention. Afterwards, the children were treated to a puppet show and free cookies and Kool-Aid. Some of them received toys. Later in the afternoon, they romped around the playing field with water pistols and played "capture the flag".
The grand finale that day was a paintball exhibition by Matt Johnson of the "Timber Wolves".
All proceeds were donated to the United Way, a non-profit organization which provides emergency assistance for needy families and senior citizens.
MARC KIDWILER WINS SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
Published July 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
In early November of last year, Hit & Run Paint War Games in Scappoose, Oregon held its first annual 5-Man Urban Speedball Competition. Following the competition, the Best Sportsmanship award was presented to Marc Kidwiler of the Rebels, one of Oregon's premier paintball teams.
Because there was no limit to the number of smaller teams that a large team could enter in the tournament, the Rebels entered three 5-man teams. Marc played on one of the three Rebel teams that entered. The team he played on only made it as far as the semi-finals. Understandably, Marc and his teammates were disappointed. Despite it all, Marc was good-natured and exuberant. At one point, he was even disqualified when he let his enthusiasm get the best of him and inadvertently moved during a paintcheck. Marc, like a true sportsman, accepted the referee's call without protest.
NATIONAL GUARD COMES BACK FOR MORE
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
As told by: Brad "Chief" Bird
Published July 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Last year, five members of the Deuces Wild and I played against a twelve man detachment of Infantry Scouts from the local Army National Guard unit in Saint Helens, Oregon. The purpose of our first encounter was to see how the sport of paintball could be used in the training of military units. The members of this particular National Guard unit found paintball training to be beneficial, so they arranged a return engagement at our home field, Hit & Run Paintwar Games in Scappoose, Oregon, under the guidance of Bob "Sarge" Shano, the field operator.
Before getting started, Sarge explained the rules of play. Head and body hits would count as a kill. Arm and leg hits counted as wounds only. A wounded arm could not be used to shoot or signal with. A wounded leg could not be used to walk or stand on. Also, a gun or radio that had been hit could no longer be used. All hits would count, regardless of whether or not the paintball broke, which is different from the rules followed during a normal game of paintball.
After briefing us on our assignment, Sarge sent us out to set up an ambush on a section of the field most of us had never played before. It was a woodland swamp with a deep stream and a tall ridge running through it. Our co-captain, Tracy "The Outlaw" Lambert, was in charge of the team that day. He left two men hiding in the swamp. They were to remain hidden and let the Scouts pass. Once the shooting started, they would attack the Scouts from behind and cut off their retreat. I was the lookout. From my post at the very top of the ridge, I could see the Scouts approaching. They were headed right towards us. I dropped back to report my observation.
On Tracy's orders, we quickly set up an ambush near the spot we expected the Scouts to come over the ridge. Once we were poised to strike, we waited for the signal.
Sometime later, the Scouts appeared. They came up over the ridge at precisely the point we had expected them. They moved along the ridge directly into our kill zone. Just then, they spotted one of us. We opened fire. We had them surrounded.
We gradually converged on the Scouts. One of them ran right into my fire as he tried to get away. After I shot him, he fell down and played dead.
As I made it to the top of the ridge, I saw bodies lying everywhere. We only lost one man and a few of us had been wounded. Except for a couple of Scouts that managed to get away, the rest were all dead.
Sarge called the Scouts together and led them away. Before he left, he told us to set up another ambush. He wanted the Scouts to try again.
After a short lunch break, we headed back out to the field. This time the Scouts were to occupy and defend Dogpatch, a mock village consisting of six cabins and a two-story farmhouse. We were to assault the village and attempt to overrun it. Since the Scouts practically outnumbered us two to one, the odds were definitely in their favor. And the buildings would provide them with plenty of cover and protection.
Both teams suffered heavy casualties, but the Scouts worked well together and did not lose possession of the village. The Scouts did a good job and discovered that the use of paintball equipment has a role in the training of military units, although it has its limitations.
I would like to thank my teammates, Tracy Lambert, Kevin Easley, Larry Anderson, and Danny Dutson for helping out in this exercise. Thanks also need to go out to Sarge for donating the use of the field for the training. For more information about the use of paintball equipment in the training of military units, contact Sarge Shano at (503)543-3880.
PAINTBALL A BIG HIT WITH THE SCAPPOOSE POLICE
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published July 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Published August 1992 in Paintball Fever
Scappoose police officers recently got their first taste of paintball. It was an experience they would never forget, which was exactly what we had hoped for. You see, this was not a typical day of paintball at the Hit & Run playing field. It was a police training exercise and the officers came out to our paintball field to learn. Not to play.
The training took place on a Thursday afternoon. The officers began arriving at about one o'clock. Some of them arrived at the field in their patrol cars. Others came out in their personal vehicles. Although they knew why they were at the field, none of them knew exactly what to expect.
Scappoose police chief Scott Woods wanted his officers to conduct some routine traffic stops. He had prepared a few scenarios in advance. He based the scenarios on actual police cases involving traffic stops in which law officers had been shot and killed in the line of duty. Chief Woods wanted to see how his men would react in similar life-and-death situations.
The bad guys were portrayed by a couple of members of our home team, the Deuces Wild. They were co-captain Tracy Lambert and Steve Green, the team's sergeant-at-arms. In one scenario, Tracy played an armed fugitive from justice and Steve played the unsuspecting driver who picks him up while hitch hiking. In another scenario, Steve and Tracy took turns playing a man who gets pulled over after his wife calls the police and tells them he is carrying a gun and has had too much to drink.
In the final scenario, Steve and Tracy play a couple of armed bank robbers that get pulled over by a patrolman making a routine traffic stop. After being stopped, they suddenly burst from their vehicle and open fire on the lone police officer with state-of-the-art paintball pistols. For the hapless patrolman, alone and out-gunned, the outcome was inevitable.
At the end of the day, Chief Woods asked his officers for their opinion of the training. All agreed it was good training and looked forward to more of the same.
PAINTBALLS AND VALENTINES
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published August 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Paint pellets took the place of Cupid's arrows during our Annual Valentines Special as wives and girlfriends challenged their husbands and boyfriends to a paintball grudge match. I told the ladies they could use their own paintball guns or rent one of our new Tippmann SL-68 II constant air rifles. I told the guys they had to use stock Sheridan PGP pistols. Naturally, the ladies loved the idea. On the other hand, the guys hated it. You should of heard them whine. Ultimately, the guys accepted their predicament and the games got underway.
I told everyone that they would play a 15 minute game of "Attack and Defend" in the Fire Base. I let the ladies defend first. The game didn't last long. It was almost over before it started. For the guys, it ended in bitter defeat. The ladies were jubilant. The guys didn't say a word. They swallowed their wounded pride and took up positions in the Fire Base. It was their turn to defend.
After allowing the ladies a few moments to reload their guns and plan their attack, I blew the whistle and started the second game. It went the distance. And this time, the guys won. They won because they worked together and supported each other. That's what teammates are supposed to do.
After a couple of more games, I had the group break for lunch. Afterwards, the guys pulled out their personal state-of-the-art paintball guns and turned in their stock PGP rental pistols. They teamed up with their sweethearts and joined in on the open games already in progress on our other field.
All things considered, everybody had a blast that day. Except maybe Cupid. He had to work that weekend.
RON AHO WINS 1991 MVP AWARD
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published September 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Recently, I was privileged to present the Most Valuable Player award to Ron Aho, a long-standing member of our home team, the Deuces Wild. Ron received a trophy and a free game pass good for one year. He will also get to be the door gunner on the helicopter gunship during our big game in March. Ron is 24, lives in north Portland, shoots a Phantom, and prefers Nelson paint.
Only a member of the home team is eligible to receive the MVP award. The Deuces Wild have been our home team since the spring of 1989. The MVP award has to go to someone who has been on the home team for at least six months, has an excellent attendance record, is a good sportsman, is honest, loyal, team oriented, and a skillful player. The fact that Ron also happens to be a close friend of mine had nothing to do with my choice for the award. I am good friends with everyone on the home team and it is never an easy decision for me to choose between them. In my book, they are all winners.
RANDY WOOD WINS 1992 TOP GUN COMPETITION
Published November 1992 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
In the final hour of Hit & Run Paint War Games' 1992 Top Gun Competition, Randy Wood outgunned and outperformed three other finalists to secure a solid first place tournament victory.
In a one-hour long individual game of capture the flag, Randy had captured and returned all four flags to home base without being eliminated. Randy is a 32 year old painting contractor who has been playing paintball since 1984. He is a member of the Deuces Wild paintball team and a part-time member of the team Sudden Death from California. He shoots a Bud Orr Auto Cocker and uses yellow R.P. Scherer paint.
The 1992 Top Gun runner-up was Gayle Janicke, a 23 year old sanitation manager who hails from Forest Grove, Oregon. Gayle is a member of the Phantom Force and has been playing paintball since 1988. He shoots a phantom paintball gun and uses orange Nelson paint.
The other finalists were John Barth of Hillsboro, Oregon and Mike Lauterborn of Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was officiated by field operator Bob "Sarge" Shano, Mark "The Mechanic" Russum, "Combat Matt" Johnson, Johnny "Cannon Ball" Beland, Dave "Bulldozer" McNutt and "Super Dave" Johnson.
HIT & RUN LENDS A HELPING HAND
Published January 1993 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Last Fall, the folks at Hit & Run Paint War Games held a couple of fund-raising events at their 160 acre playing field in Scappoose, Oregon.
The first fund-raiser was held on Sunday, September 13th. It was Hit & Run's Fifth Annual United Way Benefit and Trade Show. A total of dollars was contributed by the players that attended the event. The money was presented to Mrs. Josette Hugo, the local United Way campaign representative. The money will be used to support county youth programs, senior citizen service groups, and emergency assistance organizations.
On Tuesday, September 15th, Hit & Run held a fund-raiser on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House. Heavy rain and cold weather resulted in a very small turn out. Only fourteen players attended the event. A sum of dollars was raised that day. The money was presented to Mr. Ron Latham, the manager of the McDonald House in Portland, Oregon. The McDonald House offers out-of-town families of children with cancer an affordable place to live during their child's stay at the hospital.
Hit & Run is planning to hold its Sixth Annual United Way Benefit on Sunday, September 12, 1993. As of yet, no date has been set for the next fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House.
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
As told by: Private 1st Class Chris "Night Stalker" Howard
Published May 1993 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
I was alone now. During all the shooting, I had somehow lost contact with the other members of my patrol. The opposition was out there somewhere in the dark. I was certain they would come after me. I had secluded myself behind an enormous brush pile. Just above my head was a loudspeaker. The sound of gun fire and other manufactured battleground noises boomed in my ear.
I heard footsteps nearby. Someone was coming towards me. As I laid there in the darkness, I asked myself, "How in the hell did I get into this mess?" To learn the answer to that question, we must turn back the clock to the moment it all began.
There I was, seated on a bench along with ten other paintball players listening to "Sarge", the field operator, as he briefed us on our assignment.
"Tonight," he began, "you will raid the enemy fuel dump in Sector H, neutralize the position, search it, bring back any maps or documents that you find, and blow it up. A demolitions expert will accompany the patrol. It will be his job to blow up the fuel dump."
Pointing at a map depicting our zone of operation and the location of our initial rally point, Sarge said, "You will leave here no later than twenty-one hundred hours and move on foot to the I.R.P. When you reach the position, occupy and secure it and remain there for fifteen minutes. Use that time to adjust to your surroundings. There shouldn't be any unnecessary talking or movement. Be quiet, keep still, and listen," he emphasized. "After fifteen minutes," he continued, "proceed with your mission. Use the primary route to reach your objective rally point." He traced the route from our I.R.P. to our O.R.P. with his finger. "Along the way," he said, "you may engage all targets of opportunity. When you reach the O.R.P., occupy and secure it. Send the demolitions expert out to blow up the foot bridge. The reason for blowing up the bridge," he explained, "is to cut off the enemy's escape route." Then, looking directly at our patrol leader, Sarge said, "As soon as you hear the explosion, deploy your patrol and assault the fuel dump. Hit hard and fast. You'll only have thirty minutes from the time the bridge is blown to capture and destroy the fuel dump. If, at the end of thirty minutes, you have failed to complete your assignment, abort the mission and order your men to withdraw to the O.R.P. On the other hand, if you succeed in capturing and securing the objective, give your men five minutes to conduct a quick search of the area. After five minutes, give the order to withdraw to the O.R.P. Once you have given the order to fall back, the demolitions expert will ignite the fuse and yell, `fire in the hole!' That's to warn everyone that the fuel dump is about to blow."
Now Sarge turned to face our assistant patrol leader. "I want you," he told him, "to stick close to the demolitions expert and cover him while he emplaces his charges." The A.P.L. nodded his head.
Looking back at the map again, Sarge pointed at it and told us, "Regroup here." He indicated the O.R.P. "Account for all patrol members and quickly disseminate any information you were able to collect. When that's done, move to your reentry rally point." He traced a line with his finger from the O.R.P. to our R.R.P. "When you reach the R.R.P., occupy and secure it and transmit the appropriate radio code word. The code word is, `Piranha'. Wait until you receive confirmation before you approach the gap in the perimeter," Sarge cautioned us. "It's going to take a little time to pass the word along that your patrol is coming back in," he explained. "If you try to come through the gap too soon, no one's going to be expecting you. The troops on the perimeter will assume you're the enemy. They'll shoot first and ask questions later." After making sure we all understood this, Sarge went on to tell us about our radio call signs. "The patrol's call sign is, 'Brass Eagle'. My call sign is, 'Swamp Fox'. Base camp is, 'Fox Den'. Tonight's challenge and password," he added, "is 'Moon/Shadow'." Then, turning once again to face our patrol leader, he said, "Immediately following this briefing, you will draw to squad radios, a grappling hook, two flashlights, and illumination devices. Check to see that the radios and flashlights work. At nineteen-hundred hours, I want you and the rest of your patrol back here for a full dress rehearsal. The time now is eighteen-thirty hours. What are your questions?"
"Can we take prisoners?" someone asked.
"Absolutely," Sarge replied. "Just don't manhandle them or rough them up. Prisoners are to be treated in accordance with the rules of the Geneva convention."
"But what should we do if a prisoner tries to escape?" I asked.
"Shoot him if you have to," Sarge responded. "Just don't let him get away. If he does, he could compromise the entire operation."
We asked Sarge several other questions. After answering our questions, he told us to go and get ready for tonight. But just before he dismissed us, he said, "Out here, it's hard to tell who your friends are, so watch what you say in front of other people. Some of them could be informers or spies. Mum's the word," he cautioned us.
The next half an hour or so we spent filling canteens, adjusting goggles, chronographing our paintball guns, loading bulk feeders, and conducting radio checks. At nineteen-hundred hours, we began our full dress rehearsal.
We practiced moving in a tactical formation. Sarge told us we would have to feel our way around in the dark. "Watch out for tripwires and be careful where you step," he said. "There's everything from rabid rats to poisonous snakes out there. Lucky for you," he added, "they're not two-step snakes."
"What's a two-step snake?" I asked.
"In Vietnam, that's what they were called. The two-step snake is one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. Anyone bitten by one usually only lived long enough to take a couple of steps before he'd keel over and die. That's how the two-step snake got its nickname."
Now Sarge really had my undivided attention. From that moment on, I resolved not to miss a single word he said. I listened very closely as he told us what to do when a stranger approaches. "When you hear someone coming and you're just not sure who it is," he told us, "get under cover and wait until he's close enough to hear you whisper the challenge. He should respond with the password. If he doesn't, shoot him."
He told us what to do when the opposition offers to surrender. "When they offer to surrender, stay under cover and make them come to you. Sometimes," he explained, "they will pretend to surrender in order to lure you out in the open so they can get a clean shot at you. Don't fall for that old trick," he warned us.
Sarge told us what to do if we found any abandoned equipment. "Don't touch anything until it's been checked out for booby traps," he cautioned. "Use a grappling hook or throw rocks at it."
He showed us how to search a tunnel. "Before searching a tunnel," he warned, "check the entranceway for tripwires. Use a grappling hook to remove the lid. Roll and toss rocks into the opening to set off any booby traps."
He told us what to do if someone stepped on a mine. "Only the person that's closest to the victim should go to his aid. Everyone else should get under cover and watch for the opposition."
We rehearsed several other things before we headed out on patrol. We practiced what to do when the patrol came to a halt. We also practiced what to do if we blundered into an ambush. Though it seemed to last a lot longer, the rehearsal took less than two hours. When we were done, we put on our goggles and headed out on patrol.
As planned, we stopped at the initial rally point and remained there for fifteen minutes. This gave us a chance to adjust to our nocturnal surroundings before moving on.
Waiting and listening in the dark, I soon discovered just how much farther sound carries at night. I could hear crickets chirping and frogs croaking. I even heard an owl hooting. Sounds, I also learned as I tried to figure out where the owl was, are very difficult to pinpoint at night.
After fifteen minutes had passed, we left the I.R.P. and cautiously made our way toward the objective. The sky was clear and the moon was full. Even so, I was barely able to see where I was going. I remember what Sarge said about staying in formation. "At night," he told us, "it's especially important to stay in formation so you don't loose track of who's beside you, otherwise you might end up shooting at each other." As it turned out, I came real close to shooting my own guys. They kept getting out of formation and it would startle me to suddenly discover someone walking beside me that I just didn't expect to be there.
It was dark, all right. We had to feel our way around, just like Sarge said we would. Our point man had detected several tripwires. And because of venomous snakes and rabid rats, we had to feel our way along the ground with the tips of our boots. Our route was fraught with danger. Well, not really. The tripwires were only connected to "Playmore" paint mines. And the snakes and rats were just harmless rubber props. If you stepped on one, it would squeak. That's how you would know you'd been bitten. Earlier that day, while out on a previous patrol, the assistant patrol leader had stepped on a rat. He must have jumped six feet in the air when he heard it squeak. Still, that wasn't nearly as high as I jumped when Sarge set off the artillery simulators earlier that evening.
Groping our way along, we finally reached our objective rally point. The patrol leader sent the demolitions expert to blow up the foot bridge while the rest of us waited at the O.R.P. About ten minutes later, there was a deafening explosion. The bridge was blown. It was time to attack.
Several of us had halogen flashlights. We used them like spotlights. Every other minute or so, I would turn mine on and shine it at the opposition. About the third time I switched on my light, I was hit. Lucky for me, however, it was only a flesh wound. I ducked down and took cover first, like Sarge had told us to, and then called for the medic. It took a while, but the medic finally came and patched me up and I was soon back in action.
Just ahead of me was a fire barrel. I crawled towards it. When I reached it, I cocked my paintball gun and aimed it towards the opposition. I fired and paint sprayed all over the place. I forgot there was a paint pellet in the chamber already. The barrel was full of paint and my gun was a mess. I ducked back down behind the fire barrel to clean the gun and swab out the barrel as volley after volley of paint pellets whizzed past me. I tried to make as small a target of myself as possible. I soon found myself lying flat on my back.
I'm not sure how long I laid there working on my gun. It must have been a long time because the next thing I knew, I was all alone. I was all alone and the opposition was getting closer. I had to get away. I panicked and dropped my squeegee, my silencer, and my flashlight. I stood up to run away. There was a wire barrier in front of me. Because it was dark and I didn't see it, I forgot it was there. I ran headlong into it. I bounced off it and landed flat on my backside.
As I sat there shaking the cobwebs from my head, I noticed a huge brush pile just ahead of me. I scurried toward it and hid behind it. And for the last twenty minutes, that's where I've remained hidden. Which brings us back to the present.
Now, as I hide behind the brush pile listening to the sound of approaching footsteps, I slowly raise my paintball gun, aim towards the sound, and pull the trigger. Nothing! My gun won't fire! I suddenly realize why. It's not cocked. I don't dare cock it now. The noise will give me away. I freeze. I don't dare move or make a sound. He's much too close. As long as I keep quiet and keep still, he won't notice me.
It seems like an eternity, but he finally walks right past me. It's so dark, he don't see me. Wait a minute! What's he doing now? He's stopping and reaching up to grab the loudspeaker. This can only mean one thing.
"Sarge?" I implore. "Please tell me it's you."
"Chris? Is that you?"
I recognize the voice. It's Sarge, all right. "Thank God," I sigh. "I just can't tell you what a relief it is to hear the sound of your voice."
"Why aren't you with the others?" he asks.
"It's a long story," I reply.
"Come on," he says. "You can tell me all about it on the way back to the base camp."
Base camp. Upon the mere mention of those words, I immediately envision a place with lots of lights and plenty of people. I can't wait to get back!
"Lead the way, Sarge," I urge. "I'm right behind you."
Together, we walked back to the base camp. Along the way I told Sarge what had happened.
"Tell me, Chris," he asked afterwards. "Do you still think war is all fun and games?"
"Are you kidding?" I answered. "Not after all the bullshit I went through tonight. If this is what it's like, I never want to go to war," I assured him. "War sucks!"
"Absolutely," Sarge agreed.
SUPER GAME 7
Published November 1993 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Hit & Run Paint War Games in Scappoose, Oregon is home of the Super Game. Now in its seventh year, the game has grown to include an amphibious troop carrier, a mini-tank, light assault vehicles, and a helicopter gunship. Hundreds of players showed up to join field operator Bob "Sarge" Shano and his staff at Hit & Run for another memorable Super Game. What follows is a compilation of personal testimonials to a great day of paintball fun.
"My name is Reggie Denner. During my travels as a NAPRA official, I have visited a lot of playing fields, but I've never seen a field quite like this one before. The Hit & Run paintball field is a great place to play. It was very clean, safety always came first, and the staff was fantastic. I give the place four stars and two thumbs up. Bob "Sarge" Shano runs the field. I think he's a heck of a neat guy but, after watching him jump out of that damned helicopter, I'd have to say he's a little nuts. He really is a neat guy, even if he does yell every now and then. I liked the players too. They were awesome. There were no arguments and they played fair. It was real paintball."
"My name is Scott Walker. I played on the side of the Red Army. At the sound of the starting horn, we quickly headed for our first objective, the mock town located on the north side of the playing field. We got there just moments ahead of the Blue Army, which was soon pouring through the ravine ahead of us and storming our position. Just behind us, the Renegades began to attack our rear. I jumped into one of the cabins and immediately opened fire on the opposition. Right beside me stood the Red Army general. He was just hammering away at the Renegades and the waves of attacking Blues. A couple of times the Blue Army managed to gain a foothold in the town, but we pushed them back and maintained our strangle hold on the place. It was a real pitched battle. It lasted the whole six hours of the game. It was incredible."
"My name is Todd Gregory. I was a member of the Renegades. At one point, while we were attacking the town, some of the other Renegades decided to use smoke grenades. Before long, the town was engulfed in a thick cloud of smoke. It was impressive. We never did take the town, but we had a heck of a lot of fun trying."
"My name is Michael Kelbaugh. I attended the game along with a group of my co-workers from Nintendo of America, Inc. Everybody in the group had a great time. The women in our group also had a blast. The field was run very professionally, the refs were great, and the players played fair. We're all looking forward to playing in the next Super Game."
"My name is Rob Ritchie. A large group of Blue Army players were on our way to attack the stronghold at the top of the hill. We were about halfway there when we ran into an equally large group of Reds. Both groups immediately opened fire on each other. Within seconds, paintballs were flying everywhere and dozens of players on both sides had been hit. It was really intense. We fought it out with each other for at least fifteen minutes. It was the best firefight I've ever been in."
"My name is Cathy Cochran. I was on the Blue Army. Later in the afternoon, about halfway through the game, we gathered our forces for a coordinated attack. We launched a full scale assault against the Reds and pushed them all the way back to their command post. It was the highlight of my day because it was the one time during the game when our entire army was unified. For that brief period of time, we were a force to reckon with. Nothing could stand in our way."
"My name is Scott Hulit. Super Game 7 was a very exciting game. There were hundreds of players there. And there was a mini-tank, a sandrail, a helicopter, and an amphibious troop carrier. All these things combined to make the game exciting and lots of fun. I've got to hand it to Sarge, the field operator. He put on one hell of a show."
"My name is Bruce McKinney. My two friends, Roman Flizynski and Don Packard, and I went out to the Super Game just to take a few photographs. Super Game 7 was a very exciting game. Just how exciting was it? You should see some of the pictures we took! That says it all."
"My name is Mike Alexander. I rode on the helicopter. It was great. I watched as the players below us scattered and scurried for cover when we flew over and bombarded them with water balloons. They were running for their lives. It was funny."
"My name is Mike Payne. I drove the mini-tank. It was a bumpy ride. Hot and noisy too. I kept sliding all over the seat and bumping my head against the driver's hatch. I got tossed all over the place every time I drove through a rut or over a bump in the road. It was just like driving a real tank. I had a blast."
"My name is Reggie Shepard. I was assigned to the Blue Army. The highlight of my day came when it was just about time for the game to end. At that point, we had control of the fire base, but the Red Army had control of both the town and the stronghold. To win the game, we had to have control of at least two of the three major objectives. We needed one more objective to secure a decisive victory against the Red Army. We rallied the remnants of our depleted force and tried one last time to take over the town. We hit the Reds with everything we had. We pushed them back and actually managed to gain a foothold in the town just as we were running out of time. With less than a minute left in the game, I made a desperate lunge for the Red Army's flag. As I reached out to grab it, the Reds saw me and opened fire. I must of got nailed at least a dozen times from all directions. And the sad part is, I never did get their stupid flag."
"My name is Anne Eleniak. I came all the way from Alberta, Canada with my friends to play in the game. It was a long drive, but well worth the trip. I had a fantastic time. We all did. I especially enjoyed mixing it up with the Renegades towards the end of the day when they attacked a group of us Reds up at the stronghold. We went down, but not without a fight. Before my paintgun ran out of air, I gave them a real run for their money. I only wish I had a radio. I could have called for reinforcements. Then we would have won the game, despite those meddlesome Renegades."
"My name is Gary Reynolds. I was a Renegade. Towards the end of the game, some of the other Renegades and I got together and decided to attack the stronghold at the top of the hill. At the time, the Red Army controlled the position and, at first, it looked as if we were going to have a problem taking it away from them. They were dug in pretty deep. I only had enough gas in my back bottle for about fifty shots. There was just no way I was going to be able to shoot it out with the opposition. I got as close to the stronghold as I could and then I started to pull back, as if I was retreating. Just as I had hoped, a couple of the Reds came after me. That was a big mistake on their part. Once they abandoned the stronghold and left the safety and security of their foxholes, it was all over for them. All we had to do then was eliminate the last three Reds up on the stronghold and take it over. That didn't take very long. Last year, the Red Army won the game. This year, we kept them from winning."
"I'm Sarge, the field operator. I put a lot of time and effort into the Super Game just because I want it to be safe and fun for everyone. I guess some players just don't care about that. And some players just don't care about our image or the future of paintball. As a field operator who is concerned only with the well-being of my fellow players and the future of our beloved sport, I make every possible effort to weed out the troublemakers, but no matter how hard I try, a few of them always mange to show up for the game and spoil it for the rest of us. Following the game, I walked through the parking lot and found dozens of empty beer cans and even a few empty bottles of whiskey and Tequila. Now in my book, alcohol and paintball just don't mix. Especially in a game involving helicopters, armored vehicles, and hundreds of people. And I made no secret about the fact that there would be absolutely no alcoholic beverages allowed on or near the game site. Nonetheless, a few foolhardy individuals decided to indulge themselves anyway. They not only put themselves in great danger, but also all of the other people that were out at the field that day. It's time to rid our sport of the players who just don't care. I can't do it alone. No field operator can. It's going to take the help of players who care about the future of paintball. When an individual violates field policy, report it to the field operator. If the field operator won't do anything about it, tell it to the I.P.P.A. It's time to take a stand. Your safety and the future of paintball is at stake. Power to the players!"
OPERATION FUN HOUSE
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published January 1994 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
I got a call early one morning from Police Chief Scott Woods of the Scappoose Police Department. Ever since the last time we got together, he had been looking for another way to use paintball to train his officers. (See the July 1992 issue of APG for the complete story.) He told me there was a house on the outskirts of town that was about to be torn down. He said he wanted to teach his officers how to search a building and that the house he had found was just what the doctor ordered. We went to take a look at the place. He was right. It was perfect. The place had several rooms and all sorts of nooks and crannies. It even had an attic. We dubbed the exercise "Operation Fun House" and set to work conjuring up a few choice scenarios.
That evening, I called Matt Johnson, team captain of the Timber Wolves, and filled him in on the proposed operation. Following our conversation, he set about comprising a team of his most reliable and seasoned paintball players. The team consisted of veteran players Ron Aho, Mike Alexander, Jason Ball, Chow Bentley, Oscar Cochran, and John Ivezic.
After checking our schedules and talking to the owner of the house, we planned a date for a rehearsal. If there were going to be any problems, we wanted to identify them way ahead of time.
On the day of the rehearsal, we each learned something new. If nothing else, we learned how hard it is to see your way around a building in the dark when wearing tinted goggle lenses. So consequently, along with all the other things not to use, tinted lenses were added to the list.
Since we were going to be operating indoors and at close quarters, in the event of any shooting, I decided that I wanted the guys on the team to be well protected against pointblank hits. I made it mandatory for everyone to wear throat and ear protection, gloves, and a cup. I also decided to turn down the velocity on the guns to 250 feet-per-second.
For the sake of realism, I had the guys use red paint only. I also had them turn off the alarms on their wrist watches and empty all the keys and loose change from their pockets. I didn't want them to make too much noise as they were moving around inside the house.
We were ready.
On the day of the exercise, Chief Woods and his officers arrived on schedule at the training site. After a brief orientation, the officers were ushered into a building where they waited for Chief Woods to come and get them. They didn't have to wait long. Two at a time, he came to get them and, without further ado, proceeded to put them through their paces.
In the first scenario, Chief Woods had his officers investigate a burglary of a commercial building. In the second scenario, he had them investigate a report of a trespasser. In the third scenario, his officers were called to the scene of a burglary of a private residence. And in the final scenario, they had to investigate a report of suspicious activity.
Needless to say, all of the officers took a few lumps that day, but they learned a lot from the experience. And for our efforts, we each received a letter of thanks from the Mayor of Scappoose. We all thought that was pretty cool.
A GOOD SAMARITAN: CHERITTA YOUNG
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published March 1994 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Field operator Bob "Sarge" Shano in Scappoose, Oregon recently presented Cheritta Young with a Certificate of Appreciation for turning in a semi-automatic paintgun she had found in the staging area of Hit & Run Paint War Games after everyone had gone home.
The next day, Jason Pisha called Sarge to ask if anyone had found a paintgun at the field. He had loaned it to a friend from Washington to play in a big game. Sarge asked Jason to describe the paintgun, which he did. Sarge then told Jason how he could make arrangements to retrieve his lost paintgun.
Thanks to Cheritta, Jason and his Tippmann .68 Special have been reunited. Cheritta is a certified nurse's aid and lives in Warren, Oregon. She has been playing paintball at Hit & Run Paint War Games since August of 1991 and is a member of the Northwest Storms paintball team.
Published August 1995 in Paintball Sports Magazine
The twentieth anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war past this year. 58,000 American soldiers and over 3,000,000 Vietnamese died in that conflict. This article is not about paintball. It's about the realities of war. It is being published here so that we can all take a moment to reflect on such realities and be thankful that what we play is a game where the only wounds are to our egos.
PROLOGUE: In high schools and colleges across America, students learn about the Vietnam War in their history and political science classes. Kathryn Thomas, a literature instructor at the Mount Hood Community College, sponsors a field exercise at the Hit & Run paintball field in Scappoose, Oregon, which recreates life at a fire base in Vietnam and then allows her students to experience it for one night. Kathryn is not a Vietnam veteran, but she along with field operator Bob "Sarge" Shano and several other paintball players and Vietnam veterans generously contribute their time and effort to the program because they believe it is very important that others bear witness to the truth about war. What follows, in the words of one participant, is an eyewitness account of the events that transpired during just such an exercise.
A DAY IN COUNTRY: "Cherries." Not the kind you pick off trees, but the one's that come freshly scrubbed from Fort Lewis. A quick four "klick" march and into the 3rd Platoon's fire base they came. Twenty cherries fresh off the "freedom bird", plunked right down in some of the worst V.C. infested territory next to Hanoi. This story isn't about them. This is a tale about the men of the 3rd Platoon, specifically, the 3rd Platoon of Company B, 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
When the cherries finally marched their way into the fire base, the platoon sergeant, a battle-hardened noncom known simply as "Sarge", was quick to put them to work digging foxholes and clearing fields of fire. Meanwhile, "Doc", the platoon medic, drifted from one foxhole to the next chit-chatting with the cherries and checking each one's feet for blisters.
The cherries' first hint of reality struck shortly after "mail call" when one of the "grunts", a "short-timer" named "Houston", received a disheartening letter from his sister back in Texas. In her letter, she said his wife was having an affair with another man. Completely distraught, he grabbed a scatter gun and made a dash for the perimeter. He didn't make it fifty feet beyond the wire before a V.C. sniper cut him down. That's when all hell broke loose as everyone in the tower and forward bunkers abruptly opened fire. Above all the screaming and the sound of artillery, Sarge could be heard shouting instructions to his three squad leaders, "Dawg", "Ace", and "The Professor". As Doc rushed off to help Houston, Sarge ordered Dawg and his men to cover him. He hollered at the Professor to get the cherries down and then sent Ace and his squad after the enemy sapper. A short time later, Ace and his men returned to base camp empty handed. The sniper had gotten away. Sarge was pissed! He ordered Ace and Dawg to get their squads and the cherries ready because they were going after the S.O.B. that had shot and killed Houston.
When the squads were formed and ready to go, Sarge gave the order to move out and off into the "boonies" they went. "Hollywood" and "Snake", a couple of seasoned veterans, were at the rear of the file, least any cherries should fall out of the basket. "Scooter", the point man, was hot on the sniper's trail.
They had been following the sniper's trail for less than half an hour when a single shot rang out and dropped Scooter like a log. Doc tried to get to him but was also shot and killed. By this time, everyone was firing in the direction of the enemy sniper. During all the shooting, someone must have hit and wounded the sniper because one of the squad leaders found a trail of blood. The trail led to a village. By this time, Sarge was determined to make someone pay for killing his men. He ordered his troops to raid the village and round up everyone they could find for questioning. However, what started out as an interrogation ended up as a massacre when one of the villagers made a run for it. That's when Ace and Dawg and the men in their squads opened fire and shot and killed every last villager in sight. After that, Sarge and the others returned to home base. They got back just before dark.
After settling back in, the squads spent the rest of the evening taking turns at various watches and going out on patrol. "Short Round", the radioman, was up the majority of the night as Sarge kept him busy with a nearly nonstop barrage of radio traffic.
Orders came down at zero two-hundred hours to lay an ambush for a V.C. patrol. Sarge assigned the task to the Professor and his squad. "Bamm Bamm", the machine gunner, took the point and Short Round, now working on negative sleep, covered the rear. The remaining two squad members, "Flame" and "Ghost", took up positions in between the cherries. At zero two-thirty hours, the Professor pointed his weary charges in a southerly direction and they slowly trudged off into the night. Radio contact was poor and continued to degrade to the point that almost no communication with base was possible, whereupon the Professor decided to abort the mission and return to base. However, on their way back to camp, the squad unexpectedly came across the V.C. patrol it had been sent out to ambush. Unable to contact base, the Professor made a command decision and gave the order to open fire. When the smoke cleared, several V.C. lay dead at his feet. After a quick body count, he packed up his squad and hauled ass back to the base camp.
It was almost dawn when the men of the 3rd Platoon tried to bed down for the rest of the night. It was then, unexpectedly, that the enemy launched an all out attack. Snake, Ghost, Hollywood, and the Professor lay dead near the perimeter after a daring rush under heavy enemy fire to support the left flank. Bamm Bamm, Flame, and Short Round were all fatally wounded when the tower they were defending came under heavy mortar and machine gun fire. The fighting raged until dawn. Up until then, it had been too dark to see anything, but now, as the dawn broke, the rising sun cast its light upon a battlefield littered with corpses from both sides. It cost them dearly, but the grunts were able to hold their position and repulse the enemy.
EPILOGUE: The battle was finally over. Now the cherries could all go home and get some sleep. Tomorrow, they would all be back in class and their lives would soon be back to normal again, but the memory of their experience would last them a lifetime. "I'll remember this night for as long as I live," one of them said to me. "I was really scared. It wasn't even real and I was still scared to death. I hope I never have to go to war."
Boonies: The jungle.
Cherry: A young soldier, especially one without any combat experience.
Freedom Bird: A jet airliner, especially one bound for the United States.
Grunt: An infantry soldier.
Klick: Slang for "kilometer".
Mail Call: That time when letters and packages from home are distributed to the soldiers.
Short-Timer: A slang term used to describe a soldier who is very close to completing his tour of duty or term of enlistment.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published April 1996 in Paintball Sports Magazine
PROLOGUE: Bob "Sarge" Shano operates Hit & Run Paint War Games in Scappoose, Oregon, site of the now legendary Super Game. In this article, he reveals his secrets of success and shows others how to plan a successful big game of their own.
PART 1 - With ten years in the business and eleven Super Games under my belt, I guess it stands to reason that so many people just starting out in the business often turn to me for help and advice. One person went so far as to suggest that I write a book. Well, as much as I'd like to, I'm not about to. I just don't have the time to write a book. What I am hoping to do, however, is to pass along some of my knowledge and experience to others.
This particular article explains how I go about planning a big game. It is intended to help others who are thinking about putting together a big game of their own. I know I had a rough time putting it all together when I put on my first big game. There were no self-help books or instructional videos back then to guide you through the process. It was all trial and error, learn as you go. I remember the very first Super Game I did. I learned a lot from that first big game. It was a far cry from what the Super Game is today, but despite the setbacks, it was still a big hit with the players.
Once I got past the initial snafu, things ran pretty smoothly until several large groups of players on the Blue Army ran out of paint and departed early. In the final hour of the game, the Blue Army found itself vastly outnumbered with very little chance of a victory. Needless to say, the game soon became one-sided as the Red Army gained the upper hand and effortlessly won the mock war. Since then, I have been splitting up teams and large groups of players, that way when they run out of paint and decide to leave early, both the Blue Army and the Red Army experience an equal loss of manpower with neither side gaining a numerical advantage. I also found that splitting up teams and large groups ultimately makes for a friendlier game. When half of their friends are on the opposing side, players are far less likely to do anything that might tick them off.
An organized big game requires a lot of preparation and prior planning. I begin my plans six months before the game. I start off with a letter to the editors of all the major paintball magazines giving the date and other pertinent facts about the game, which they subsequently publish in the calendar of events section of their magazines. For those of you who are operating on a limited advertising budget, don't worry. It doesn't cost anything to have your announcement published in the calendar of events section. One thing though. Just be sure to send it in early. Most editors have a long lead time and really appreciate it when you send them your stuff in advance so they have plenty of time to publish it in their magazines. And, once the editors publish your announcement, mind your manners and remember to call them up to thank them, or send each of them a thank you card.
Soon after your announcement appears in the magazine, players will begin calling and asking about your big game. When the calls start coming in, be ready to copy down the caller's name and mailing address so you can send them a complete packet of information about the game. At the very least, the packet should include a copy of the scenario and rules of play, the time schedule, entry details, a map of the field with detailed directions on how to get there, and information regarding equipment restrictions, field policies, velocity limits, paint prices, and local accommodations, to include information on the campgrounds and R.V. parks located in your area.
At a big game, it is customary for each player to receive an embroidered event patch as a memento of the occasion. Because it usually takes so long to get them, I order mine several months in advance. I make it a point not to give them out until the day of the game. Each player receives the patch only after he or she hands in a waiver, completed and signed. Generally, an event patch should be no bigger than four inches and not less than three inches in diameter. When done properly, an event patch can be used as a form of advertising. For this reason, you should include the name of your field or production company and the title of the event or big game on the patch.
No big game is complete without vehicles. They add atmosphere and excitement to the game. For the big games I run out at my place, I have used authentic military vehicles, usually half-tracks and armored scout cars. The vehicles belong to a local military vehicle collectors club. There's usually one located in every major American city. Call the Military Vehicle Preservation Association at 1-800-365-5798 for the club nearest you, or check the listings in your Yellow Pages phone book. Check the listings under "Associations". If you can't find anything there, look under "Clubs". If all else fails, call your local army surplus store. Someone who works there may know the name of a private collector living in your area. In any case, when vehicles are used in a big game, they must be used safely. If you let them run wild, some player or spectator is bound to get hurt. They should stick to a regular route and never be driven faster than 5 miles-per-hour. Anytime it becomes necessary to back up or drive in reverse, a ground guide should be used to direct the driver. As for the players, they must be warned to keep their distance and not to grab onto a vehicle or climb aboard as it drives past them. They must also be told not to shoot at the windshield. After all, the driver must be able to see where he is going to avoid an accident. Obviously, he won't be able to do that if the windshield of his vehicle is smeared with paint. Also, in the interests of safety, you should never allow vehicles to be driven on the playing field after dark.
If you can afford it, a helicopter lends a real nice touch to a big game. The main thing to remember here is not to let anybody near it other than the folks who are actually going to board it. And the people you do allow to ride in the helicopter must always approach it from the front or the sides. Nothing upsets a helicopter pilot more than to have someone get too close to the tail rotor. After boarding the helicopter, passengers must buckle up. One more thing. If you are going to allow people to shoot out of the helicopter, everyone on board, including the pilot and the crew chief, must wear eye protection at all times because, as most of us already know, it just makes good sense to wear goggles anytime a paintball gun is to be fired or discharged. And when it comes to allowing the passengers to throw paint grenades at the players on the ground below, don't. If a paint grenade were to land on top of somebody's head, it could seriously hurt them.
For my big games, I require players to pay in advance. I do not want to waste precious time collecting entry fees and signing people up at the last minute. That just causes delays and always seems to result in a lot of confusion. When a player sends in his entry fee, I send him a letter letting him know we received his check or money order and that his name has been added to the player register. In the letter, I also include details about the check in time and the number to call if he has any questions.
Once a year, I hold a big game at night. New players are never allowed to play in my night games. I have enough problems just trying to get newbies to keep their goggles on during the day. At night, I wouldn't even be able to see the newbies taking their goggles off, in which case one of them would probably loose an eye. Unfortunately, that's what happened back on December 15, 1993 to young Nick Jolma. At the tender age of 14 and being new to the sport, he just didn't know any better. He lifted his goggles up during a night game that he, his brother, and a couple of their friends were playing in the woods near their former home in Battleground, Washington. Nick was hit in the eye by a paintball from about ten yards away, and his eye hasn't been the same since. The player that hit him in the eye couldn't see that Nick's goggles were off. It was just too dark. Ironically, that player was Nick's own brother. The moral of this story is you need to think twice before allowing newbies to play in your night games.
Remember to stock up before the game. Make sure you have an abundance of everything from ink pens to toilet paper. You will need plenty of waiver forms too, so be sure you have lots of extra copies. And don't overlook the essentials, such as additional drinking water and extra portable toilets. You should figure on having at least one toilet for every fifty people attending your big game. In addition to making certain there in an ample supply of water for the players to drink, you must also make sure they get plenty to eat. For this purpose, you should arrange to have a catering truck at the field on the day of your big game.
At some big games, as many as a thousand or more players may participate. Naturally, the bigger your turnout is the greater the odds are of someone getting hurt, so unless your playing field is located close to a hospital, you better make arrangements for an on-site ambulance and some paramedics. At the very least, you should arrange to have a life flight helicopter on-call in case of a major medical emergency.
As in all big games, the players will go through tons of paint and CO2. Have lots of paint for sale and be sure to refill those bulk tanks. You will also need plenty of small bills to make change for players getting air fills.
Another thing you must consider is space and the layout of the staging area and the playing field. You will need to come up with a parking plan and a parking area large enough to accommodate all of the cars, trucks, vans, and motor homes that will be waiting at your doorstep on the morning of the game. You will need to set up an area where the players can chronograph and test fire their paintball guns. You also need to set up an area in the shade where you can store your bulk tanks and refill back bottles. And don't forget to mark those flag stations and field boundaries so the players don't end up in no man's land or someplace else they shouldn't be.
I always precede my big games with an orientation. You should too. There will be far less confusion and fewer misunderstandings if you explain the scenario and the rules of play before you begin the game. During your orientation, talk about your referees. Ask the players to give your referees their complete cooperation and not to argue with them. Talk about safety. Tell the players when and where barrel plugs are required. Let them know whether or not they may use smoke grenades. When giving the orientation, it helps to use a bullhorn. It also helps to close down the vendors and the CO2 filling station before you begin talking. Nothing must distract the player or divert his attention from what you are saying. Before concluding your orientation, and while everyone is still standing around to see it, have the team captains shake hands and wish each other good luck. This helps to set the tone of the game.
A field operator needs a lot of help during a big game. He needs people to help him direct parking, sign in the players, run the chronographs, and referee the game. He will need someone to conduct a guided tour of the field, sell paint and supplies, fill back bottles, hand out event patches, and so on. I begin looking for people to help me several weeks prior to the game. I make sure the folks I get to help referee the game are given everything they need to do the job right. Several days before the game, I provide each of them with a complete set of written instructions and a detailed job description. I also provide them with a map of the field and a copy of the scenario and the rules of play. On the morning of the big game, I outfit my referees with airhorns, radios, and spare batteries.
Keep the peace with your neighbors and let them know what you are planning. a couple of weeks before the game, I distribute notices to all the folks who live along the road that leads to my field. I inform them about the inclusive times and the date of the game. I also include my phone number in the notice and ask them to call me if they have any questions or concerns. On the day of the game, I post uniformed security officers along the road to regulate traffic and discourage speeding. Take it from me, if you make waves with your neighbors, you are just asking for trouble. Just to be on the safe side, it's a good idea to invite some local V.I.P. out for the game, such as the mayor or some other influential public servant. Ask him or her to be your grand marshal or master of ceremonies. If there are any problems with the neighbors, it sometimes helps to have friends in high places.
Follow up on your plans. Make sure everything is set and everybody is ready to go. Are the extra toilets you requested going to be there? Are the vehicles you plan to use in the game ready to go? Is the catering truck that you arranged to have out at the field that day still coming? And how about the folks who said they would help you that day? Are they still going to be able to make it? Will you have enough referees? These are things you have to concern yourself with if you expect your plans to turn out right.
On the night before the game, I like to listen to the weather forecast. Experience has taught me that it helps to know what old Mother Nature has in store for me the next day. At least that way, I sort of know what to expect and things don't come as a complete surprise to me.
When it comes time to load up and head for the field, don't forget anything. Remember to pack up the radios, the spare batteries, the team flags, the player armbands, the chronographs, the adjusting tools, the waiver forms, the ink pens, the event patches, and so forth. And before you load all that stuff in your van or truck, be sure the gas tank is full and check under the hood. The last thing you're going to need is car trouble.
Well, that just about wraps it up for this particular article. Perhaps I will write another like it, but that all depends on what you have to say about this one. You can send your comments to the editor or write to me personally at: Hit & Run Paint War Games, P.O. Box 1065, Scappoose, OR 97056.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Now that Sarge has detailed how a hypothetical big game would turn out, we would like to give you his report of one he actually put on, the Night of the Full Moon Big Game #5.
PART 2 - The Night of the Full Moon Big Game is an actual combat simulation. Everything from trip flares to rocket and mortar simulators are used in the game. Even authentic battlefield sound effects are played over the field's extensive P/A system. The game is held annually at Hit & Run Paint War Games in Scappoose, Oregon. It's played between three opposing fire teams. Until they make contact, fire teams observe strict light and noise discipline and operate under total blackout conditions. Because our playing field is so big, only repeat customers are allowed to participate in the game. As the field's operator, I am concerned about the possibility that new patrons, not knowing their way around the field, would just keep getting lost or disoriented.
This particular night game, our fifth, lasted seven hours. A one hour long cease fire was declared shortly after midnight so that the players could return to the staging area and take a break. Some of the players grabbed a bite to eat while others took a short nap. Those players that decided to take a nap were told not to sleep on the ground in the parking lot or anyplace else where they might accidentally get run over.
Each fire team operated a command post where the players kept their spare supplies and equipment. At any time during the game, a player was allowed to return to his or her respective command post in order to reload and resupply. Adjusting tools were not allowed at the command post. These had to be left behind at the chronograph range or back at the main staging area.
Gun hits didn't count. However, all other hits, including bouncers and friendly fire, did. Arm and leg hits were flesh wounds only. These could be treated by the team medic. Treatment involved merely wiping away the splat with a red shop towel. Until then, an arm or leg that had been hit could not be used. A player was dead and out of action if he was hit anywhere else other than the arm or leg. Eliminated players had to return to the body splat station, log in on the body splat sheet, and rechronograph their paintball gun. No shot could exceed 250 feet-per-second with a warm tank and a full charge. Since the game was played in total darkness, most of the action took place at close quarters, so the players soon learned to appreciate our lower than usual velocity limit.
There were toy snakes and frogs out on the playing field. If a player stepped on one, he was out. When stepped on, the toys would squeak. That was how a player would know when he had been eliminated. Trip flares and imitation trip mines were also used in the game that night. When a player tripped a trip flare, he was not eliminated from the game. The flare would just ruin his night vision. However, when a player tripped and detonated a trip mine, he was out.
Players were not allowed to desert their fire team or defect to the enemy. And they were not allowed to spy for the enemy or betray their teammates in any way. Dummies were used as P.O.W.'s and had to be treated in accordance with the treaties and provisions of the Geneva Convention. In other words, players had to provide their prisoners with shelter against stray shots and other hazards. Also, they were not allowed to shoot their prisoners, use them as shields, or endanger their health in any way.
As I mentioned earlier, the game is played between three opposing fire teams. These three fire teams are named the Commandos, the Marauders, and the Rangers. Each fire team has a primary mission. The primary directive of the Commandos is to raid enemy installations and conduct covert combat operations. The principal mission of the Marauders is to infiltrate enemy encampments, perform specific acts of sabotage, liberate allied prisoners of war, and rescue key personnel. The primary mission of the Rangers is to patrol deep behind enemy lines and conduct ambushes when opportunities arose. Combat advisors were attached to each fire team. It was the responsibility of each combat advisor to ensure that all players complied with the rules of engagement. It was also their job to ensure that the members of their fire team carried out their instructions and completed their assigned missions.
During the orientation that was conducted earlier that evening, each of the senior ranking combat advisors received a detailed sector map of the playing field and a portable CB radio. The radio was to be used at the conclusion of each mission to report the final outcome. Fire teams had less than an hour in which to complete their individual assignments. A siren was used to initiate the start of each mission. It was the fundamental goal of each fire team to successfully complete every mission. In some cases, a fire team would fail or be forced to abort its mission. Of all the fire teams engaged in the operation, the Commandos consistently proved to be the most capable. Therefore, in the interests of brevity, this story will focus on that particular fire team's activities.
About every hour or so, each of the three senior ranking combat advisors would receive a sealed envelope containing written instructions and details regarding their next assignment. The envelope given to Tim "Dingo" Whitehouse, the ranking advisor of the Commandos, contained the following mission outlines: YOUR FIRST MISSION WILL BE TO RAID THE ENEMY COMMAND POST LOCATED IN THE FIRE BASE IN SECTOR E (REFER TO YOUR SECTOR MAP). YOU MUST ATTEMPT TO OVERRUN THE POSITION AND ELIMINATE ALL ENEMY PERSONNEL. YOU ARE NOT TO TAMPER WITH OR COMMANDEER ANY OF THE ENEMY'S SUPPLIES OR EQUIPMENT. WHEN YOU HEAR THE SIREN AND THE GAME BEGINS, TAKE YOUR ENTIRE FIRE TEAM WITH YOU AND ATTACK THE FIRE BASE.
At 2100 hours, the signal to begin the game was given and the attack against the Fire Base got underway. In the background, players could hear the sound of a .50 caliber machine gun booming over the playing field's P/A system. Up above, they could see mortar simulators and flares bursting in the air. The flares made it possible for the Commandos to see and eliminate most of their opponents, especially the ones up in the tower. During the attack, the Commandos managed to gain a foothold in the Fire Base after teammates Dan "The Man" Bonebrake and Gale "Papa Bear" Janicke diligently crawled up to one of the forward trench lines and single-handedly eliminated everyone inside. Although the Commandos never actually succeeded in taking over the Fire Base, they came very, very close. They just needed a little more time, but time soon ran out and the mission was terminated. At that point, everyone returned to their respective command posts and prepared for their next assignment.
For the Commandos, that assignment was as follows: DIVIDE YOUR FIRE TEAM IN HALF. HAVE ONE HALF OF YOUR FIRE TEAM SEARCH SECTOR C FOR ABANDONED ENEMY EQUIPMENT AND TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY. HAVE THE OTHER HALF OF YOUR FIRE TEAM OCCUPY THE P.O.W. CAMP IN SECTOR F (REFER TO YOUR SECTOR MAP) AND SECURE IT AGAINST ENEMY INFILTRATION. WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR THE SIREN AND THE GAME BEGINS BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR COMMAND POST AND DEPLOY YOUR TROOPS.
The starting signal sounded at 2200 hours and the Commandos took to the field. Half of their fire team, led by Dan Bonebrake, headed for Sector C while the other half of the team, led by Tim Whitehouse, headed for the P.O.W. Camp in Sector F. The group headed by Bonebrake made enemy contact soon after reaching its objective. In a brief fire fight with the Rangers, the Commandos managed to inflict several casualties upon their opponents. The Rangers withdrew and regrouped for another attack, but Bonebrake and his contingent were ready for them. During the subsequent exchange, the Commandos successfully fended off their opponents, only this time around it cost them a couple of their best men, Gale Janicke and Eric Felina. Meanwhile, back at the P.O.W. Camp, Tim Whitehouse and his group were completely encircled by the Marauders. The Marauders outnumbered the occupants of the P.O.W. Camp by at least two to one and were about to launch an all-out assault in an attempt to liberate a highly valued prisoner of war. The whistle blew, however, signaling the end of the mission.
Once again, the players returned to their respective command posts. Then, at approximately 2300 hours, I handed each of the senior ranking combat advisors another sealed envelope. As you recall, Tim Whitehouse was the ranking advisor for the Commandos. The envelope I handed him contained this message: A DEMOLITIONS EXPERT WILL ACCOMPANY YOU ON YOUR NEXT PATROL. YOUR MISSION WILL BE TO RAID THE ENEMY FUEL DUMP IN SECTOR H (REFER TO YOUR SECTOR MAP) AND PROVIDE COVER FIRE FOR THE DEMOLITIONS EXPERT WHILE HE EMPLACES THE EXPLOSIVE CHARGES THAT WILL BE USED TO BLOW UP THE FUEL DRUMS. WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR THE SIREN AND THE GAME BEGINS BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR COMMAND POST AND DEPLOY YOUR TROOPS.
Unopposed, the Commandos successfully infiltrated and blew up their objective. It wasn't until afterwards that they saw any real action. They were in the area near The Town when they crossed swords with a numerically superior enemy force. In the ensuing battle, they again lost teammate Gale Janicke and a few other key players. Ultimately, the time expired and the Commandos returned to their command post to prepare for yet another assignment.
The following message was contained in the fourth envelope that I handed to Tim Whitehouse: EARLIER TODAY, THE ENEMY SHOT DOWN ONE OF OUR OBSERVATION HELICOPTERS. THE HELICOPTER CRASHED ALONG THE NORTHERN PERIMETER OF THE FIRE BASE IN SECTOR E (REFER TO YOUR SECTOR MAP). WE HAVE REASON TO SUSPECT THAT THE FLIGHT RECORDER IS STILL CONTAINED IN THE WRECKAGE OF THE DOWNED AIRCRAFT. THE FLIGHT RECORDER CONTAINS CRITICAL AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE INFORMATION NEEDED TO PLAN A MAJOR ALLIED OFFENSIVE. WE MUST HAVE IT BACK. WHEN THE SIREN SOUNDS AND THE GAME BEGINS, IT WILL BE YOUR JOB TO RETRIEVE THE FLIGHT RECORDER AND BRING IT BACK TO YOUR COMMAND POST.
Racing against the clock, Todd "Godzilla" Gregory, followed closely behind by his teammates, made a mad dash for the downed helicopter and retrieved the all-important flight recorder. Now all he and his teammates had to do was get it back to their command post. After leaving Elmer "Scorpio" Ovalles and Matt "Possum" Wiley behind to cover the rear, Gregory and the rest of the Commandos began the long journey back to their command post. Up until this point, things had been progressing and moving along very smoothly. Along the route back to their command post, however, the Commandos encountered an enemy sniper. Before they managed to get him, the sniper took out Gregory and two other Commandos. Right after that, the group ran into a band of Marauders and sustained even more casualties. Nonetheless, the Commandos were eventually able to get the flight recorder all the way back to their command post and complete the mission. Now they were ready to tackle another assignment.
A TEMPORARY TRUCE HAS BEEN DECLARED BETWEEN YOUR FIRE TEAM AND THE MARAUDERS IN ORDER TO FORM AN ALLIANCE AGAINST THE RANGERS. LINK UP WITH THE MARAUDERS AT THE ABANDONED FUEL DUMP IN SECTOR H (REFER TO YOUR SECTOR MAP) AND ATTACK THE TOWN IN WHICH THE RANGERS, YOUR MUTUAL ENEMY, HAVE SET UP THEIR COMMAND POST. BEAR IN MIND THE FACT THAT THE MARAUDERS WERE ONCE YOUR SWORN ENEMY AND ARE NOT TO BE COMPLETELY TRUSTED.
When the signal to begin was given, the Commandos departed their command post and cautiously made their way towards the Fuel Dump. About a hundred yards short of their final destination, they came to a halt and sent Todd Gregory on ahead to rendezvous with the Marauders. At the Fuel Dump, Gregory found the Rangers waiting in ambush. It was a trap. Gregory hurried back to where the rest of the Commandos were waiting and explained the situation. Right after that, they were approached by some unidentified players. While his teammates covered him, Elmer Ovalles ascertained the identity of the strangers. They were Marauders. They said they were supposed to join up with the Commandos before attacking The Town. Ovalles asked them where the rest of their teammates were. They told him that none of the other Marauders trusted the Commandos and that they were going to attack The Town without them. Ovalles told the Marauders that the bulk of the Rangers had forsaken The Town in favor of setting up an ambush in the Fuel Dump. After considering the situation, the group quickly devised a plan of action. Ovalles and the Marauders would attack The Town while the rest of the Commandos stayed behind to contain the Rangers and impede any move they made to provide reinforcements for their teammates in The Town. The plan worked like a charm and, after overcoming some light enemy resistance, The Town was theirs.
When it was time for another mission, the Commandos were given the following assignment: HEADQUARTERS HAS BEEN SECRETLY PLANNING TO DEPLOY PARATROOPERS BEHIND ENEMY LINES FOR RECONNAISSANCE AND INTELLIGENCE GATHERING PURPOSES. THE JUMP WILL TAKE PLACE TONIGHT. YOUR MISSION IS TO SECURE A JUMP ZONE ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE FOOTBRIDGE LOCATED IN SECTOR L (REFER TO YOUR SECTOR MAP) AND MARK IT WITH LANDING LIGHTS SO THAT IT IS VISIBLE FROM THE AIR TO OUR PARATROOPERS.
Carrying the landing lights I gave them, the Commandos departed their command post at the starting signal and headed for The Footbridge. Upon their arrival, they secured the bridge and emplaced the landing lights. Shortly afterwards, a group of Rangers appeared and launched a brutal assault upon their position. Despite the fact that they were low on air and paint, the Commandos stood fast and held their ground against the heavy barrage of enemy fire. When the siren ending the mission finally blew, the Commandos were still in control of The Footbridge and the adjacent jump zone. They had accomplished their mission. Now it was time for another.
About an hour before daybreak, I handed Tim Whitehouse the final envelope. HEADQUARTERS HAS RECEIVED SEVERAL UNCONFIRMED REPORTS ABOUT A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN ENEMY ACTIVITY NEAR THE ABANDONED FUEL DUMP IN SECTOR H (REFER TO YOUR SECTOR MAP). YOUR MISSION IS TO INVESTIGATE THE VALIDITY OF THESE REPORTS AND, SHOULD THEY PROVE ACCURATE, TO ATTACK AND HARASS THE ENEMY FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF DISRUPTING HIS OPERATIONS AND DEGRADING HIS COMBAT EFFECTIVENESS.
Near the Fuel Dump, the Commandos encountered the Marauders, several of whom were carrying time bombs which they intended to plant and detonate in the vicinity. Seeing that the Marauders were up to no good, the Commandos set straight to work. Being careful to avoid becoming decisively engaged with their adversaries, the Commandos staged several sporadic attacks against the Marauders in an effort to hamper and disrupt their plans. The Marauders, however, were not so easily swayed from their purpose. They simply pursued their task with even greater zeal and determination. Each time a Marauder conveying a bomb would fall victim to the Commandos, another would sally forth and retrieve the device. This went on and on until the Marauders had successfully placed three of their four bombs. They were just about to plant the fourth bomb and complete their mission when the siren went off and ended the game. Once again, albeit just barely, the Commandos prevailed.
Now that the game was over, everyone returned to the main staging area to pack up their gear and go home. Everywhere you went, the players could be heard swapping war stories and telling tales about their exploits that night. They all agreed that the game was very challenging. They had liked that. They had also liked the fact that the game encouraged everyone to use strategy and teamwork. Some even went so far as to say that they would choose to play in our Night of the Full Moon Big Game over any other game or tournament that was to be played during the day.
Our next Night of the Full Moon Big Game is scheduled to begin on the evening of September 28, 1996. For more details, watch for our upcoming announcement in future issues of Paintball Sports.
GUERRILLAS IN THE MIST
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published May 1998 in Paintball Sports Magazine
A while back, I was contacted by the commanding officer of a local Army National Guard unit who had heard about our paintball facility and some of the games we routinely play against other Guard units. He though paintball could be used to teach his citizen soldiers to work together as a team. I didn't see anything wrong with that theory, so I asked him what he had in mind. He told me he was the commanding officer of an infantry company and wanted to conduct a field training exercise for each of his three rifle platoons. On average, he informed me, each rifle platoon, which included three squads, consisted of one commissioned officer, several non-commissioned officers, and about thirty enlisted men. He also said, because of other unit obligations, only one platoon at a time could participate in the exercise. A training date was tentatively scheduled, and I let him know I would be in touch just as soon as I worked a few things out. I hung up the phone and got right on it.
I decided the first thing I had to do was come up with a feasible training scenario. Considering the fact that a rifle platoon typically employs small unit tactics, I came up with a scenario which would allow them to do just that. I would have them conduct a search and destroy mission against a rogue band of partisan guerrillas.
I not only had to come up with an appropriate training scenario, but I also had to make the field exercise as realistic as possible so that the troops would benefit from the experience and get the most out of it. This meant doing everything from finding the right terrain to carefully selecting the individuals who would play the role of the guerrillas. In keeping with my goals, I had to take into account several considerations, such as the fact that, in a regular Army unit, combat troops are mostly young men who are all physically fit. On the other hand, the kind of people you are most likely to find in a band of guerrillas are average citizens of all ages and varying degrees of physical fitness so, for the sake of realism, I put together just such a group. They were all paintball players, some quite young and some much older. Although they were all healthy, none of them could be regarded as athletes or track stars. I would even venture to say that several gentlemen in the group were perhaps as much as thirty pounds overweight. There was Kim and Terry Mecham, Rob Hagen, Marty Simon, Mike Alexander, Jason Ball, and the three Benner brothers, Erik, Todd and Victor. All together, there were only nine of them. This meant that they would be outnumbered by the National Guardsmen by about three to one. Perfect, I thought, since most guerrillas are usually confronted with the same odds.
The next item on my list was to find a suitable location upon which to conduct the exercise. Given the limited range and accuracy of a paintball gun, the training area had to lend itself to close quarters combat. On the other side of the creek that flowed through our playing field, I found what I was looking for. There, amid the lush foliage of the rain forest, I discovered a fresh game trail which meandered a mile or so through the southeast corner of the field. It was flanked on both sides by tall trees and heavy underbrush which restricted visibility and fields of fire to less than forty yards. It would make an ideal location.
The final step was to train and prepare the players for the task that lay ahead. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Except for one individual, no one else in the group had any military experience or knew anything about squad tactics, combat formations, battle drills, or anything else about military maneuvers. For the most part, I had to start from scratch. I had to teach the guys the methods and habits of the typical guerrilla fighter as well as the other things they needed to know to conduct a successful ambush against an enemy that outnumbered them by three to one. It took a while, but after spending four Saturdays diligently rehearsing for the exercise and working on their camouflage, the men were ready.
I contacted the company commander of the Guard unit and asked to attend their next staff meeting so I could outline the plan and talk about the training scenario. I showed up at the armory for the staff meeting with a paintball gun, some paintballs, a topographic map of the training area, and about fifty copies of a letter I wrote to the officers and enlisted men in the company telling them what they could expect during the training exercise. I asked the company commander to ensure that each participant, from the highest ranking officer to the last private, received a personal copy of the letter. At the staff meeting, I gave a demonstration on the paintball gun and explained its limitations. After that, I had to field a barrage of questions and inquiries. I am not exactly sure what time I left the armory. I just know it was hours before I was finally back on the road and homeward bound. Just before leaving the armory, however, the company commander took me off to one side and informed me about his plan to conduct an after action review at the end of the training exercise and, at that time, I would be called upon to evaluate his soldiers performance. Now that, I thought to myself, could be a bit of a problem.
During the drive home, I had time to ponder my dilemma. An entire rifle platoon comprised of thirty to forty National Guard troops would participate in the training exercise to be held next Saturday at our paintball field, and I had to let them know how well they did. But just how was I supposed to do that? I was just one guy and there was no way in the world I would be able to keep an eye on all thirty Guardsmen at once, especially in the kind of heavy terrain they were going to be training in. I needed help. I needed a team of evaluators. After giving the matter some thought, I concluded that the individuals who would make the best evaluators would be other seasoned veterans of the armed forces. I knew of three such individuals who were all avid paintball players. As it turned out, all three were eager to help.
When the big day finally arrived, the Guardsmen rolled through the front gate riding in the backs of Hummers and troop trucks. Shortly after their arrival, the Guardsmen, thirty-six of them, dismounted and stood in platoon formation as I conducted an in-ranks inspection for prohibited items. A couple of the riflemen were toting survival knives, which I promptly confiscated and vowed to return upon the completion of the training exercise. After the inspection, the Guardsmen were ushered into the briefing room to complete their release forms and receive their assignment.
Here's what they were told:
"YOUR PRIMARY MISSION IS TO SEEK OUT AND NEUTRALIZE A BAND OF GUERRILLA FIGHTERS BASED IN HOSTILE TERRITORY, THE SAME BUNCH OF GUERRILLAS THAT HAVE BEEN GOING AROUND AT NIGHT BLOWING UP OUR AMMUNITION DUMPS. NO THANKS TO THEM, WE ARE NOW CONFRONTED WITH A SERIOUS SHORTAGE OF AMMUNITION. THEY MUST BE STOPPED. DURING THE DAY, THEY HIDE OUT IN THEIR LITTLE BASE CAMPS IN THE FOREST. YOUR SECONDARY MISSION WILL BE TO LOCATE AND DESTROY THESE CAMPS. FOR THIS PURPOSE, A COMBAT ENGINEER HAS BEEN ATTACHED TO YOUR UNIT. IT WILL BE HIS JOB TO EMPLACE AND DETONATE THE CHARGES THAT WILL BE USED TO DESTROY THE ENEMY BASE CAMPS."
After explaining what their mission was, I went on to describe the landscape.
"THE TERRAIN IN THE AREA IS MOSTLY WOODED WITH DENSE UNDERBRUSH. CONSEQUENTLY, FIELDS OF FIRE AND OBSERVATION RANGE FROM AS LITTLE AS A FEW FEET TO ABOUT FORTY YARDS."
Another thing I did was warn them about trip mines.
"BEFORE YOU VENTURE OFF INTO THE WOODS TO HUNT DOWN THESE GUERRILLAS, THERE'S ONE MORE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEM. THEY LIKE TO USE BOOBY TRAPS AND TRIP MINES, SO WATCH YOUR STEP AND LOOK BEFORE YOU TOUCH."
Toward the end of the briefing, I talked about safety and other particulars about the exercise. I told them that the three gentlemen in white caps carrying clipboards were the evaluators. Each of them, I went on to explain, carried an airhorn which they would use to halt the exercise in case of an emergency. I stressed the importance of the goggles and urged them to keep them on at all times, regardless of whether or not a firefight was in progress. I told them what to do if their goggles fell off. I let them know that there would be absolutely no hand-to-hand combat or rough stuff permitted. I warned them not to manhandle or rough up any prisoners and to only simulate binding and gagging their captives. I also told them what to expect if they were taken prisoner. I let them know that any direct hit, including bouncers, would count as a hit.
I further explained that a hit to the head, back, or chest meant they were dead, at which time they were to put on an orange vest. A hit on the arm or leg, I went on to explain, was only a wound, but they could not use their wounded arm to signal or shoot with, nor use their injured leg to walk or stand on. On top of that, they were told that a gun or radio that was hit could not be used anymore. In conclusion, I informed everyone that I had a camera and that I would be taking snapshots throughout the exercise for both informational and intelligence gathering purposes.
After the briefing, I handed the goggles, the orange vests, the paintball guns and the paintballs to the troops. The paintball guns given to the machine gunners had hoppers on them that could hold up to two-hundred paintballs. However, the guns I handed to the riflemen had very small hoppers on them. At best, they could only hold up to forty paintballs. That would force the riflemen to stop periodically and reload their guns, just like they would have to do in an actual firefight. To add even more realism to the task of reloading their guns, the paintballs that the riflemen were given were in tubes. Each tube contained ten paintballs. The machine gunners received a total of six-hundred paintballs, the equivalent of their basic ammunition load. All others received two-hundred paintballs. And because it's what they would do in actual combat, the Guardsmen were told, in addition to the paintballs they were given, they could also use the paintballs they recovered from the bodies of their fallen comrades. Just for the record, I would like to point out the fact that the individuals chosen as guerrillas for this scenario received similar instructions and had to endure the same firepower and ammunition restrictions as the Guardsmen.
The stage was set. It was finally time to get things under way. The Guardsmen were led to their assembly area and, after test firing and chronographing their paintball guns, they waded through the shallow creek and crossed into what (they were told) was enemy territory.
Moving in a platoon wedge formation, they traveled about a hundred yards without incident until, all of a sudden, there was a deafening explosion as a member of the point element hit a trip wire and set off a land mine. In an instant, the troops panicked and began shooting indiscriminately in all directions. Some of them even came very close to shooting each other. One of the sergeants, unable to tell what everyone was shooting at, had the presence of mind to order a cease fire. Once the shooting had stopped, the men were able to hear someone calling for a medic. It was the soldier who had tripped the mine, but instead of the man closest to him going to his aid, several troops left their position in the formation to help him. This compromised local security and left serious gaps in the platoon's perimeter, not to mention the fact that all of those soldiers standing around in a circle made a very tempting target. In any event, the temptation must have been more than the guerrillas could resist, because right about then they opened fire into the crowd, eliminating two of the Guardsmen and wounding four others.
Within moments after they had initiated the attack, the guerrillas employed several smoke grenades and soon vanished from view. On impulse, an officer and three riflemen immediately gave chase. They followed the fleeing guerrillas into the lingering cloud of white smoke. When they stepped out of the cloud and emerged on the opposite side, they found themselves staring right down the barrels of a couple of guerrillas who had stayed behind to cover the others' retreat. All four Guardsmen were quickly shot and eliminated at close range, which made for a painful learning experience, but one which would teach them not to make the same mistake in actual combat.
In a matter of minutes, four Guardsmen had been wounded and six others had been killed in action. Now there were only twenty-six able-bodied Guardsmen left to continue the mission.
Following a period of procrastination, the surviving officers and squad leaders issued new orders to their subordinates and prepared to carry on. The only problem, however, was the fact that they neglected to reorganize the platoon before continuing their mission. Consequently, a perfectly good radio and two fully operational crew-served weapons, still in the idle hands of the make-believe dead, were tragically left behind along with several hundred rounds of ammunition. Furthermore, the chain of command, fragmented by the loss of a key officer, had not been restored.
The platoon was on the move again, but this time the three rifle squads leap-frogged from one destination to the next. When it came time for the third squad to make its bound, they ventured so far off to the flank and so far ahead of the platoon that the squads in reserve lost visual contact with them. As luck would have it, the third squad blundered into another guerrilla ambush. Trapped in the kill zone without protection or fire support, most were systematically shot and eliminated long before the others could rush to their rescue. When it was over, another six Guardsmen, one sergeant and five riflemen, had been felled by the guerrillas. Now only twenty citizen soldiers remained to carry on the fight.
After what happened to the third squad, the others proceeded with extreme caution. In spite of this, there seemed to be plenty of room for improvement. For example, even though they were in the forest and there were trees all around them, none of the Guardsmen ever bothered to look up to see if there were any snipers in the treetops. And none of them bothered to look over their shoulders or watch their backs. There was virtually no rear security. For the most part, they all just looked straight ahead. And whenever they stopped, they didn't take cover. They would just stop in place, even though there was usually a tree two feet or more in diameter less than a yard away. And another thing, except for knowing who the man in front of or beside him was, no one knew where anybody else in the platoon or, for that matter, the squad was located. This soon proved to be a big problem as, all of a sudden, the left flank of the lead squad made chance contact with the enemy.
From less than twenty feet away, the guerrillas opened fire and poured on a barrage of paintballs. As the men on the left clashed with the enemy, the rest of the members of the lead squad moved in, but because they were not sure who was who or where anybody was, some of them wandered into the line of fire of the members of the trailing squads, who abruptly had to stop shooting for fear of hitting their own men. Now, with fewer people shooting at them, the guerrillas were able to break contact and retreat into the valley just beyond their ambush position. Although intense, the encounter had been a brief one and, in the end, three Guardsmen had been wounded, two more were deemed eliminated, and one middle-aged guerrilla had been shot. The platoon was down to fifteen able-bodied men and several walking wounded.
As twilight neared and a thin mist began to enshroud the forest, the determined little group of Guardsmen steeled themselves for battle and boldly forged ahead into the valley below.
Unknown to the Guardsmen, the guerrillas, still outnumbered and low on ammunition, took refuge atop a steep hill at the end of the trail and prepared to make their final stand. They were determined to resist, tooth and nail, any attempt by the Guardsmen to overrun their position. Without any doubt, the stuff was about to hit the fan.
As the Guardsmen emerged from the valley and looked up at the foreboding hill cloaked in its thin veil of swirling mist, they instinctively began to expect the worst. Unfaltering, they began their ascent up the mountain slope which was carpeted with thick ferns and towering fir trees. It was plain to see that what these young men lacked in time honored experience, they amply made up for in guts.
As they neared the crest of the hill, the Guardsmen were met with a volley of paintballs. Caught in the onslaught, three of them were hit instantly and declared dead. The surviving Guardsmen met the guerrillas head-on and valiantly attempted to battle their way up the hill. Little by little, in a pitched battle with the guerrillas, the Guardsmen steadily managed to make some progress, but none of them ever made it to the top. When the shooting subsided, all of the Guardsmen and all but two of the guerrillas had been eliminated.
Back at camp, I compared notes with the other evaluators. True to his word, the commanding officer called upon me to render my assessment. Trying not to sound too harsh or critical, I proceeded to give my honest opinion of the platoon's performance. I knew I wouldn't be doing these guys any favors by pulling any punches, so I told it like it was. In a real firefight, they wouldn't get a second chance.
A few weeks later, I received a certificate of appreciation from the unit's battalion commander which I proudly display on the wall of the players lodge out at our field. It tells me all I need to know, that the exercise was a complete success and more friends were made for our sport.
TRACY LEROY LAMBERT IN REMEMBRANCE
Published June 2000 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
Before the Phantom Force of Oregon. Before Washington Reign. And long, long before the Gladiators, the talk of the town in the Pacific Northwest was a paintball team called the Deuces Wild. Their home field was a place called Hit & Run Paintwar Games. And one of the team's most popular members was a player named Tracy Lambert. He was nicknamed "The Outlaw", a moniker by which he became fairly well known. Originally from Nebraska, Tracy moved to Oregon with his parents many years ago. They settled in a little town on the outskirts of Portland called Forest Grove, where Tracy grew up. While living in Forest Grove, he discovered paintball. From that moment on, he was in love.
Tracy passed away at the age of only 39. When he died, paintball lost one of its most dedicated players and most ardent supporters. Tracy lived and breathed paintball. It was his all-time favorite recreational sport. He enjoyed the game so much, he thought that everyone should at least try it once. So, assisted by his teammates, Tracy commenced to introduce dozens and dozens of new players to the game. He especially concentrated on getting more kids to try the game, mainly because he saw paintball as a healthy and positive outlet for today's youngsters.
In the end, Tracy fought a good fight, just as he had done game after game out on the paintball field. Those of us who remember him will miss him dearly. Around here, paintball just won't be the same anymore without Tracy.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILL & SELF-CONFIDENCE
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Published October 2000 in Action Pursuit Games Magazine
A 15-year old paintball referee from Pennsylvania wrote in to APG this past spring, commenting on how older players treat teenagers who ref. Here is a response.
"Yes, reffing can be tough. It's tough at any age. And when it comes to getting respect, the fact that you are only 15 years old probably doesn't make it any easier. But don't let that be an obstacle to you. Your age shouldn't stand in the way of you doing your job or prevent you from earning a little respect.
"After all, a lot of famous people accomplished some pretty amazing things early on in their lives. Take Joan of Arc, for instance. She was only 17 when she led an army of French troops to victory against the English. I'll bet a lot of people respected her for that. When he was only 17, Wyatt Earp rode shotgun on a stagecoach 12 hours a day, seven days a week between San Bernardino and Los Angeles along a route beset by bandits and hostile Indians. I'm certain that people had a lot of respect for him too.
"At age 12, while working for the railroad, Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, was publishing his own newspaper and, in his spare time, conducting sophisticated chemistry experiments. Audie Murphy, the most decorated hero of the Second World War, was only 12 when his father deserted home, leaving Audie to fend for himself and his younger brothers and sisters. During the war, he was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and placed in charge of the troops in his company, many of whom were several years older than he was. And the list goes on and on.
"By the way, I coach a paintball team called the Gladiators. They're mostly kids 14 to 16 years old. They have competed against teams with players twice their age and won, including tournament teams and tournament players. So you see, age is not always an issue. It's all about knowledge, skill, and self-confidence. In short, if you want respect, you must be willing to earn it.
"Begin by learning all there is to know about the job. Hone your skills, both as a referee and as a player. Get as much on-the-job and playing experience as you can. Like they say, "Practice makes perfect". Consider taking a class or attending a seminar on "conflict management", or do your own research on the subject. The public library is a good place to start.
"In the meantime, try not to be discouraged by the attitudes of some of the older players. Just take it in stride and don't let it upset you so much. After all, you are an authority figure, and you know as well as I do that there are a lot of folks out there who just don't like authority figures. It's human nature, and there's probably not a whole lot that you or anyone else can do to change that. Just try not to come on too strong when dealing with the players, if you know what I mean. Nobody respects a bully.
"As for the problem regarding cheaters, perhaps paintball's first lady, Jessica Sparks, said it best when, in one of her many articles for APG she wrote, "even the very best of referees can't catch everyone every time," which is absolutely true. So, when somebody breaks the rules and gets away with it, don't let it get you down. Nobody's perfect. Not even the players. How else can you explain the fact that they keep getting shot and eliminated. I guess everybody makes mistakes. Right?
"SARGE" SHANO RUNS 148 MILES FOR CHARITY
Published March 2003 in Paintball Magazine
Bob "Sarge" Shano, raised $1,260 dollars for charity by entering the 195-mile Hood-To-Coast Relay, the most prestigious relay race in North America. Teams from around the world compete. Sarge decided to enter the race to raise funds for "The Starting Place", a local shelter for battered women and abused children. Dan Bonebrake of the PanAm Circuit sponsored Sarge and supported the fund-raiser. Sarge, who was compelled to rejoin the Army after the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks, has been assigned to Force Protection for Vancouver Barracks in Washington. When off-duty, the 51-year old Staff Sergeant either trained rigorously for the run or went door-to-door asking for businesses to pledge five dollars for every 20 miles of the course he completed. Sarge made 148 miles, an incredible accomplishment. Bob "Sarge" Shano is a long time player and supporter of paintball. Helping the shelter was, for Sarge, what made this so worthwhile.
KEEPING THE PEACE
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
PROLOGUE: In paintball, as in any other sport, misunderstandings happen. That's just the way it is. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding can sometimes lead to an angry verbal exchange or, even worse, a physical confrontation between players. It's very possible, however, to minimize misunderstandings and arguments between players if you take the necessary steps to reduce their likelihood. In this article, I will endeavor to explain some of these steps to you.
First of all, you must never allow the players to say or do anything that might provoke an argument or start a fight. Name calling and mudslinging, even when it's just good-natured bantering, should never be tolerated. You don't want players taunting or teasing each other, swearing or cussing at one another, or exchanging insults or crude and obscene gestures. It's the sort of thing that can quickly get out of hand.
Discouraging players from abusing paint checks is another way to keep tempers from flaring. Unscrupulous players tend to abuse paint checks in many ways, but one of the most annoying is when a player yells at an opponent to check himself and, when the opponent obliges and looks away to check for a hit, the offending player will move up and shoot him. This is what's known as a cheap shot. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of a cheap shot. It's plain to see why someone would get upset about it.
Another ploy that's guaranteed to upset someone, particularly the unwary newcomer, is the controversial "dead man's walk". I would dare to say that this simple parlor trick has, more often than not, saved many a team from defeat and turned the tide in their favor, enabling them to win that all important championship match which they would have otherwise lost. Although the dead man's walk demands some degree of acting talent, it requires absolutely no imagination or playing skill at all. In fact, it's right on a par with faking an injury or pretending to surrender, two other ploys which require some acting ability but no playing skill whatsoever. (Maybe the next time a team uses the dead man's walk to win a tournament they ought to present them with an Academy Award instead of a paintball trophy.) Why the dead man's walk is even allowed in the game of paintball is beyond me. Nonetheless, it is allowed and some people, either in desperation or due to a serious lack of playing skill, will resort to its use in order to get the drop on their opponents, so I think it's only fair to warn players prior to the game to expect it. Players who are told to expect the dead man's walk are far less likely to fall for it, so there's less chance of any hard feelings. Except maybe for the guy who tries using the dead man's walk and subsequently gets lit up because it didn't fool anyone.
Letting the players know what to do when they actually are eliminated (and have to do the dead man's walk for real) is one more way of preventing hard feelings. When a player is eliminated, tell him that he needs to get his hands up high and keep them up until he gets to the dead man zone or else someone is likely to mistake him for a player that's doing the dead man's walk and light him up.
If you want another example of a situation that can lead to confrontation, just picture this scenario. A player goes through all the trouble of circling around and sneaking up behind the opposition, subsequently shoots an opponent in the back and, before he can make another move, his presence is announced and his location disclosed to the others by the opponent he just shot and eliminated. This can result in some seriously hard feelings between players. The problem usually occurs when players aren't told, once eliminated from the game, they are not allowed to signal, speak to, or communicate with any of their surviving teammates in any way. In short, "dead men tell no tales'. Players need to know and follow this rule to the letter.
Another rule which all players need to follow is to check for a mark after being hit before calling themselves out. I can't even begin to count all the times I've seen a player get hit, call himself out, and then realize that the ball didn't break. Usually, that player's first impulse is to stay in the game and start shooting again, but by this time his opponent isn't expecting to get shot by somebody who just said he was out of the game. Therein lies the problem and, here again, tempers can flare. That's why it's important to stress the fact that once a player calls himself out, he can't take it back and the call has to stick. The player just has to accept the fact that he made a bad call and, hopefully, learn from the experience and not make the same mistake again.
Another problem commonly encountered at the paintball field is where one player, usually a regular, gets shot by an out of bounds player, usually a newbie. This problem occurs when a referee neglects to inform all of the players precisely what the boundaries of the field are. All players, especially new ones, need to be told what the field's boundaries are prior to the start of the game.
Here's another common problem. A player gets shot and then gets shot again as he gets up to leave the field. When this happens, a player can really get ticked off. The reason it happens is usually because the player wasn't told exactly what to do when he got shot. Players need to be told to call themselves out, get their hands up high in the air, and then wait for the other person to stop shooting at them before they get up to leave the field or step out from behind cover. You need to explain to the players that it takes time for their words to reach the ears and trigger fingers of the players who are shooting at them. You must also get them to understand that they need to yell loudly when they call themselves out if they expect to be heard above all of the shooting. Remind them that they are wearing a mask and that the face piece over their mouths tends to muffle and distort their voices, making it harder for others to hear or understand them. Being heard becomes even more of a problem when they are inside a building or a bunker. All of these things must be made perfectly clear to everyone prior to the start of the game, that way there will be fewer arguments.
Speaking of arguments, you're almost certain to see one any time a player gets shot in the back at point blank range without being offered a chance to surrender first. To keep the peace, players should be encouraged to give their opponents a chance to surrender before shooting them in the back at close quarters. Also, players need to be told that anytime an opponent offers to surrender, they must accept.
Another example of when players are apt to get upset is when they are shot accidentally by one of their own teammates. Let the players know that the best way to avoid getting shot by mistake is to always let each other know where they're at and not to venture too far ahead of the others.
Oftentimes after a game, one player will detect a hit on another player and accuse him of cheating, when in fact the hit player never felt the impact. Players, particularly newbies, need to be told before the game that it's not unusual for a player to be hit and not know it. Sometimes the player will get hit in the belly, but his belt buckle might prevent him from feeling the impact. Other times a player might get shot in the chest, but the cigarette lighter in his breast pocket kept him from feeling the hit. Players must be cautioned against jumping to conclusions and making false accusations against another player. Someone might take offense, in which case you're going to have problems. And who needs that?
EPILOGUE: Keeping the peace during a paintball game isn't all that difficult. It just takes someone who is willing enough to make the effort. Paintball should be a good time and a lot of fun for everyone who plays the game. It's a game that needs to be played fair and honestly, without any shenanigans. We all need to keep that in mind.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarge has been playing paintball since the spring of 1986 and has been writing articles for APG for more than a decade. He was once the field operator of "Hit & Run Paint War Games", which was home of the legendary Super Game. These days he coaches the Gladiators, a made-for-TV paintball team. Sarge also produces and edits their award-winning public access television show, "Paintball Gladiators". If you are interested in reading some of the other articles Sarge has written for APG, visit "The Sarge Files" at: www.sargefiles.8m.com
STAYING ON TARGET
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
Over the years, the quality of paintballs has vastly improved. Nowadays, most major paintball brands are made to perform in all climates and temperatures. Nonetheless, the fundamentals of proper paintball care still apply. For example, paintballs need to be kept dry and protected against extreme hot or cold temperatures. Many players, particularly newer ones, fail to realize this and, as a result, are beset by nothing but problems. Consequently, they may conclude that the paintballs are bad or inferior. However, the truth of the matter is that the problems we might be having with the paintballs we are using could be related to any one of a number of things.
If, for example, there is a problem with paintballs bursting in your barrel it could be because the paintballs weren't stored properly, either at home or out at the playing field. To correct this problem, you must faithfully follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the proper handling and storage of the paintballs. Typically, most manufacturers recommend storing paintballs at temperatures ranging between 59 to 86 degrees F. and 40 to 50 percent relative humidity. Also, most package their paintballs in airtight plastic bags and recommend these bags be kept sealed up until the moment when the paintballs are to be used. That's because the humidity will have far less effect on the paintballs if they are kept tightly sealed in the bag until ready to use.
Make sure that the owner of the store that you buy your paintballs from is also following the manufacturer's instructions. If the paintballs were mishandled before you purchased them, it isn't going to make much difference how carefully you handle or store them because the odds are that the paintballs are already screwed up. This can be a real possibility, particularly if you're buying your paintballs from a major retailer.
The problem with paintballs bursting in the barrel could also be due to the fact that they are too old. Paintballs actually age with time. And as they age, their shells begin to soften and thin. Sometimes they develop flat spots and become out of round as the fill begins to separate and settle. This will cause them to shoot erratically, despite the fact that the barrel of your paintball gun may be perfectly clean and dry. Therefore, if you want optimum performance, it is best to use paintballs within a month of purchasing them.
Sometimes, when you are having a problem with paintballs bursting in the gun, it could be entirely due to something other than the paintballs altogether. For example, there could be a flaw or metal burr on the inside of the gun barrel which is causing the paintballs to burst long before they exit the muzzle. Or there might be a defect in the feed tube which is hindering the rate of decent of the paintballs as they drop down into the chamber. This could cause a paintball to hang up at a point somewhere between the feed port and the breech, whereupon the forward motion of the bolt would inadvertently slice or chop it in half.
The reason why a paintball bursts in the barrel could also be due to a damaged or defective ball detent. Even a dirty or poorly maintained paintball gun could be the cause of the problem, therefore a player should routinely clean and lubricate his or her marker in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. And only in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
If you're having a problem with the paintballs not breaking on your opponents, it could be due to the fact that players generally wear more clothing when it's cold outside. The extra clothing acts like padding which inadvertently absorbs the impact of the paintball, thus resulting in more "bouncers" than is typical. (To get around this problem, most field operators and referees will modify the rules of the game on a cold day so that bouncers also count as eliminations.)
Another possible reason for the paintballs not breaking could be due to the fact that the velocity of your paintball gun may be lower than usual, especially if it operates on CO2. Cold weather definitely has an adverse effect on CO2. Switching to compressed air or making an adjustment in the gun's velocity may cure this problem, however, for safety reasons, no paintball gun should ever be adjusted above 300 feet-per-second or, if playing indoors, never above the field's maximum allowable speed limit.
There might be other times when you may be required to turn down your paintball gun's velocity, such as during a speedball competition or a night game. In short, never substitute speed for safety. A "hot" gun, one that is shooting too fast, is a real danger.
In conclusion, don't be so quick to point the finger of blame at the paintball manufacturer when your paintballs are not performing the way you expect them to. At least, not until you fully examine the problem and determine who is really responsible. Nine times out of ten, it won't be the manufacturer's fault but the fault of some middle man located further on down the line who is simply unfamiliar with the ways of paintball.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarge has been playing paintball since the spring of 1986 and has been writing magazine articles for more than a decade. He was once the field operator of "Hit & Run Paint War Games", which was home of the legendary Super Game. These days he coaches the Gladiators, a made-for-TV paintball team. Sarge also produces and edits their award-winning public access television show, "Paintball Gladiators". If you are interested in reading some of the other articles Sarge has written, visit "The Sarge Files" at: www.sargefiles.8m.com.
CHOOSING A PAINTBALL GUN THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU
Written by: Bob "Sarge" Shano
In this article, you are probably going to read about some things you have heard before, perhaps from friends who have been playing paintball a little longer than you have or from veteran players who have given you their advice and some useful tips about buying a paintball gun. If I were you, however, I wouldn't get in too big a hurry to shrug this article off. Read on and you just might discover that there are a few things you have not heard yet.
Paintball guns, as most of you know already, are available in a variety of configurations. They include everything from bolt-action pistols to fully-automatic rifles. In this article, however, I am going to focus on the two most popular types of paintball markers, namely pump guns and semi-automatics. And I am going to start off by talking about the pros and cons of each. I will start with the pump gun first.
One of the nice things about pump guns is that they generally have fewer moving parts, which makes them somewhat more reliable than a semi-auto. For example, dirt and broken paintballs are far less likely to cause a pump gun to malfunction than a semi-auto. Also, fewer moving parts typically means fewer mechanical problems.
Pump guns cost a lot less. Even the difference in price between a high-end pump gun and an entry-level semi can be substantial.
For players on a really tight budget, a pump gun can also help to limit the amount of shooting they do each game and keep them from spending all of their money on paintballs. In other words, a pump gun player won't have to worry about shooting up half a case of paint in less than an hour if he or she cannot shoot very fast.
On the down side, when compared to today's semi-autos, a pump gun has a very, very low rate of fire. This, in itself, can be a substantial disadvantage, particularly for newer players who are easily discouraged or intimidated. Newbies armed with pump guns and confronted by semis are apt to feel completely helpless and overwhelmed. If you are new to this game and easily intimidated, you should not even consider buying a pump gun at this time. However, once you have built up your confidence and gained some experience, you should entertain second thoughts about making such a purchase. Playing pump against semi is an entirely different world and can really help to sharpen your individual playing skills.
Gaining skill as a player also involves learning to shoot a paintball gun off-handed with a reasonable amount of accuracy. Unfortunately for the pump gun player, it is going to take him or her considerably longer to get the knack than it's going to take the player using a semi-auto.
Another disadvantage to the pump gun is that the shooter is often exposed more to incoming fire, particularly when he or she is firing off-handed.
In the preceding paragraphs, I talked briefly about some of the advantages and disadvantages of the pump gun. Now let's take a look at the pros and cons of the semi-automatic paintball gun.
One of the main advantages of the semi-automatic paintball gun is that it only takes one hand to operate, which means you can actually reload and keep shooting all at the same time. And because it only takes one hand to operate a semi-auto, it is easier to stay under cover and to avoid exposing yourself to enemy fire.
The ability to shoot a semi-automatic with either hand is much more easily mastered than it is with a pump gun.
On the minus side, it can cost a lot more to play with a semi. You tend to shoot more paint and to use more CO2. And it's not just because you shoot more paint that you tend to use more CO2, but also because CO2 is needed to cycle the gun and operate the mechanism.
Semi-autos that run on CO2 have other drawbacks. On a cold day, the shooter's vision is usually obscured by a thick white cloud each time the gun is fired. Switching to compressed air will alleviate this dilemma, but that can get expensive. Plus you are faced with the familiar problem of trying to find a place to get your compressed air tank filled.
In cold weather, a semi-auto operating on CO2 is much more likely to "beat down" and stop working. Here too, switching to compressed air will improve the situation.
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages to owning either a pump gun or a semi-automatic, the next step is to decide which gun is better suited to your particular playing style.
If you are big on stealth and prefer sniping at the opposition, a pump gun might be the gun for you since pumps tend to be quieter and a little more accurate at longer ranges.
If you favor shooting from a prone position, then a semi-auto is the gun for you. Shooting a semi while lying on your belly is a cinch when compared to what it is like trying to cock and shoot a pump. For one thing, it is just downright awkward. For another, you will loose your sight picture every time you pump. That means you will need to realign your sights between each shot, and that can really slow a shooter down.
The basic configuration of the marker must be such that it feels right for you and fits your individual style of play. And the only way you will truly be able to determine this is after you have handled it and used it to play a few games, which is something akin to "test driving" a car.
Obviously, your choice of marker model and make is going to be based largely upon your personal preference. Irregardless, there are certain desirable features to look for when shopping for that perfect marker.
If you decide to buy a pump gun, buy one with a breech lock. This feature helps to keep the operator from double-feeding, or pumping the gun twice without firing, which, matter-of-factly and in the heat of the moment, can often occur. The problem with double-feeding is you usually end up with two paintballs in the chamber which subsequently break in the barrel. The more often you break a ball in the barrel, the more often you will have to stop and clean the gun. And the more time you spend cleaning, the less time you spend playing.
Alas, all paintball guns, sooner or later, will experience some ball breakage. Therefore, choose a gun that features breech cleaning, wherein paint goop is pulled out the front of the barrel, instead of pushing it into the gun. These include markers with cleaning ports or removable barrels.
The marker should have a velocity control so you can adjust the muzzle velocity for safe play. Also, for the sake of safety, it should have a trigger guard, which helps to guard against the accidental discharge of the marker. And even though the marker has a barrel plug, it should also have a mechanical safety.
A paintball rifle, which includes all shoulder-fired paintball guns, should be designed so that, when you are wearing your mask, neither the feed system nor the power source interferes with your aim or your ability to shoulder the gun. It should also be designed so that all critical components of the marker are easy to reach and operate, even while you are aiming and firing it. As an example, it should not be necessary to remove the gun from your shoulder in order to take the safety off, etc.
The gun should be easy to disassemble, preferably without tools. It should also be easy to clean and maintain, not only as a matter of convenience, but also as a matter of necessity, such as during those moments when you need to clean your marker out on the field.
The gun should allow for upgrades. Most guns being manufactured these days do, but it pays to be certain. Some features on the gun that you may want to upgrade include the trigger, the barrel, the bolt, the sights, and the power system. Guns with removable barrels are especially desirable because they allow you to vary the length of the barrel to match your environment. A shorter barrel, for example, makes the gun much easier to handle in close quarters situations and heavy brush, whereas a longer barrel is usually preferable when trading shots at long range across an open field. And since all paint pellets are not created equally, being able to switch from one barrel to another in order to compensate for differences in the size of a paint pellet's diameter can be crucial to a paintball gun's performance.
Most markers are made for right-handed shooters. If you are a southpaw, consider purchasing a paintball gun that is ambidextrous, or at least one that can be reconfigured to accommodate a left-handed shooter.
Before you buy, find out who manufactured the gun and what sort of reputation they have when it comes to customer service. Also, take a long hard look at their warranty. It should at least cover the repair or replacement of any defective part for 180 days from the date of purchase. In my opinion, if a paintball gun manufacturer isn't willing to guarantee its workmanship for at least 6 months, you should not take a chance on buying what they are selling. I certainly wouldn't!
Make sure the gun comes with a comprehensive owner's manual, one which fully explains how to operate, disassemble, clean, lubricate, and reassemble the gun. A good manual will also contain troubleshooting tips, quality illustrations and a parts list, as well as the telephone number of the customer support hotline or the nearest authorized service center.
Finally, when choosing a paintball gun you must take into account the reasons why you play paintball. For the occasional backyard plinker and fair-weather player, a decent low-end marker will usually suffice. But for someone looking to join a tournament team and compete at the national level, only a high-end marker will do, typically a semi-auto. And typically only the best that money can buy.
No matter which marker you finally decide to get, always take the proper precautions when using it. A paintball gun is not a toy or a child's plaything. Wear paintball-approved goggles, chronograph regularly to keep your marker shooting at safe speeds, and abide by the rules of safe paintball gun handling.
Here is my final word of advice for all of you folks out there who are ready to purchase your first paintball gun. If you just want to make things easy for yourself and you are not really interested in facing up to the ultimate challenge, then go ahead and buy the most expensive, the most advanced, and the most sophisticated super gun on the market. If, however, you are up to the challenge, go out and buy a decent pump gun and be prepared to go head-to-head with the players who are loaded for bear and up to their armpits in firepower. Call me crazy, but that is the way I prefer it because, when I eliminate an opponent, I do not want my marker getting all the credit. That's how it is when you use a super gun. People think you kick ass because you are using such an awesome marker. They seldom compliment you. They just stand there and marvel at the gun. On the other hand, when you use a pump gun and consistently take out players with the high-end semi-autos, people are impressed and much more likely to compliment you, not the marker. This is just something to think about before you finally decide which paintball gun to buy.
Well, there you have it. Now you know just about everything there is about selecting and purchasing your first paintball gun. Good luck!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bob Shano, or "Sarge" as he is better known throughout the paintball industry, writes to us from Fort Hunter Liggett in Jolan, California where he is currently serving on active duty with the 104th Division of the U.S. Army Reserve. Sarge has been playing paintball since the spring of 1986 and has been writing articles for APG for more than a decade now. He is head coach for the Gladiators paintball team and the producer of their award-winning public access television show, "Paintball Gladiators".