MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Marines from the depot’s Single Marine Program practiced their combat tactics Saturday as they competed against each other in laser tag matches at the boathouse and marina.
Laser tag equipment that will be used Oct. 6 at this year’s Boot Camp Challenge was tested during trial competitions. Laser sniper rifles and pistols will be the weaponry used as SMP Marines accept challenges from any group who wants to face them in the game of Capture the Flag.
Members of SMP put the equipment to the test to organize the details of the upcoming contests.
The course that will be played at the Boot Camp Challenge is about 60 yards long and about 40 yards wide and trial runs were needed to judge how much ammunition and time should be spent in each match,"said Gunnery Sgt. Eric Cruz, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Marine Corps Community Services Programs Division.
"Participants in the practice contests had fun,"said Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Aguirre, SMP president. "They started off with 20 ‘lives’ and 40 rounds each and battled each other until they came to the conclusion on how the games at the Boot Camp Challenge will be run."
Teams of four will have 20 minutes to capture the other team’s flag. One person on each team will be given a sniper rifle to stay back and cover team members as they move to accomplish their mission.
Snipers will have ten lives while each of the other team members will carry a pistol and have 15 lives. Pistols will be equipped with 40 rounds and allowed to reload three times.
Along with being fun, the contests present players with several advantages.
"Laser tag is a good way for troops to train and practice their combat tactics,"said Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Torrence, military housing liaison.
"I enjoyed the matches because we got to compete against each other and I got to use some of the skills I learned back in boot camp and combat training,"said Sgt. Matthew Wee, administration clerk, Consolidated Personnel Administration Center.
Although the number of lives in the game is unrealistic, laser tag matches can aid Marines in perfecting their planning and the skills to move through hostile areas, according to Aguirre.
During the test, SMP members utilized what they had available, like cars and trees, for cover and concealment as they converged on their opponents.
"It was decided that barrels, tires and golf carts will be placed on the course to provide the participants’ cover as they attempt to capture their opponent’s flag,"said Torrence. "Those flags will be sitting in clear view on top of wooden, woodland or dessert camouflaged tanks."
Rather than risking injury practicing on a live range or with paint ball weapons, games of laser tag are beneficial to service members because they do not have to worry about bruises or live rounds. There are also no weapons that need to be cleaned, or rounds that need to be picked up afterwards.
"They were able to get a good workout while having fun and, as soon as they finished, they turned in their weapons and were able to leave,"said Torrence.
"Like most SMP events, competing in laser tag matches is good for team-building as well,"said Aguirre. "Much like in the workplace, people have to work together to achieve a common goal."
Green T-shirts will be sold at the event as a fund raiser for the SMP. Their mission is to plan fun and educational events for service members on the depot, and money from T-shirt sales will help them continue their program.
For more information on the SMP program, contact Aguirre at (619) 524- 1783 or e-mail him at email@example.com. Also, for more information on the Boot Camp Challenge call (619) 524- 6058 or (619) 524- 0548, or visit the Web site www.bootcampchallenge.com.