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Army Esports Team tests gaming trailer

By Amanda Surmeier USAREC Public Affairs

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The U.S. Army Esports Team took its new gaming trailer for a test drive at Fort Knox High School May 10, where faculty, staff and students could see and test the equipment on the trailer.

The gaming trailer is the first of its kind and will join the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s fleet of traveling exhibits designed to connect Americans with their Army.

“It certainly appeals to the demographic that the Army wants to get to, and a lot of young people are into games and technology like this,” said Brian Johnson, a social studies teacher at the high school. “If they can put [it] together with what the Army has to offer them, it only makes recruiting that much stronger. The Army is getting more technology all of the time and increasing their capabilities, so this is just another step in the Army becoming 21st century.”

Over the past nine months, master craftsman John Mulquin has worked tirelessly with his team at the Marketing and Engagement Brigade here to create the 60-ft trailer. The trailer boasts eight gaming stations, each equipped with a reclining chair, curved monitor, an Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Four monitors attach to the outside of the trailers and display what the eight players inside see on their screens for spectators to observe.

“For the first time the Army has seen that this is a market that’s really untapped, and it’s something that is going to generate new leads from people we’ve never talked to before,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jan Vermeulen, senior enlisted leader for the Mission Support Battalion, which manages the fleet of traveling exhibits as well as the new esports team. “This will leave good impressions on the kids and a lasting impact to potentially convince someone to join the United States Army.”

The trailer will travel the country once it’s fully operational. It is set to debut at the Salt Lake City Gaming Convention June 27.

“The initial activities of the esports team have shown the lack of awareness of opportunities that exist in the Army, just because they have not had exposure to a recruiter before,” said Lt. Col. David Eckley, Mission Support Battalion commander. “We’re excited about tapping into this age group and segment of society that I don’t think the Army has really attempted to generate interest in service from.”

The U.S. Army Esports Team, launched in September 2018, has already seen positive recruiting trends from two major gaming conventions – PAX South in San Antonio and PAX East in Boston. The team of elite competitors is designed to create awareness about Army careers and benefits in support of the recruiting mission.