The Tom Clancy Ghost Recon series has always claimed to be one of the most realistic military gaming experiences, using tactics and gear. We decided to create a series of challenges based on some of the gameplay found in the new Ghost Recon Breakpoint game. We gathered a group of badass individuals to take part in this game turned reality challenges. Lets meet the challengers.
18 years as a SOF soldier and contractor with numerous deployments in high risk environments. Besides his extensive experience in combat he’s also an avid outdoorsman and CEO of Fieldcraft Survival.
One of the first 3 women to complete the grueling challenge of Ranger school. She’s also the first female Army Reserve Officer to earn the Ranger tab. She graduated West Point and became a US Army Engineer Officer with deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lisa also participates in Crossfit, marathons and Jiu-Jitsu. She also gives talks around the country encouraging others to never quit.
19 years spent as a Special Operations Officer as well as working as an engineer for the United Space Alliance / NASA. He also competed in the 2018 Warrior Games for Team SOCOM
Over 18 years of Special Forces experience leading SOF teams in combat zones and on high risk missions. He currently runs an intelligence company called Elusive Industries and runs operations for Reveille Peak Ranch Solutions.
We asked our challengers a few questions after we filmed the challenges which you can watch on our YouTube channel.
What was your favorite part of the Ghost Recon Breakpoint Challenge?
My favorite part of the challenge was getting folks back together from my service that I have the utmost respect for. Lee and I have known one another for many years and we handed off real estate in Afghanistan when we were both Team Leaders. Mike and I served in his last duty station together while I was the J3 and he was the SEA for the Special Operations Detachment Africa. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on many projects with Mike in the civilian sector as well. Lisa and I were class mates at West Point and what she has been able to accomplish has been nothing short of exceptional. It’s uncommon for something to bring folks from such varying parts of your life back together for a common goal/mission.
If you had to build your own “Challenge” scenarios based on real experiences what would you include and why would you include them?
If I had to build my own challenge I would throw some ethical, cultural and or tactical dilemma’s in. Embed some shoot/no-shoot situations (could be hostage rescue or HVT PID, right place but wrong guy type shoot), IED recognition (VBIED, SVIED, Victim-Initiated or photo-synthesis etc) or even a language barrier and having to work through a “terp”. Add some different layers that operators must work through that add to the problem set.
What inspired (or series of events) lead to you joining the armed services?
I was pretty inspired by the news coverage of Desert Storm/Desert Shield. My dad was a USMA grad. Then my paternal grandmother bought me the book, “In the Men’s House” by Carol Barkalow. Once I visited West Point, I knew it was my #1, #2, #3 choice for colleges.
I knew this would test me in ways I have never been tested. I hate flying and I’m afraid of heights, just being honest. I also don’t believe in letting fear hold me captive so I signed up for a job that requires me to jump out of planes. I still hate flying and I’m still afraid of heights but I know I back-hand, pimp-slapped the shit out of that fear.
Service and the mission. I wanted to serve our country in Special Operations, and conduct the difficult missions that would challenge me. I found it.
I actually began my college education as a freshmen at Texas Christian University. I looked around and realized that I needed something more than just going to school and getting a job. These internal feelings drove me to show up at a recruiters station and ask what my options were. The recruiter at the time showed me videos of US Army Rangers and Special Forces and I knew at that moment that I was destined to take that path so I enlisted with a Ranger contract. From there, West Point and Special Forces were just the natural progression for my path.
If you could give advice to a person looking to join the military and/or qualifying for Special Forces what wisdom would you pass on?
Gather as much information as you can, but at some point, you have to stop listening to all the advice and trust in your preparation and skills to be successful on your own. You are the only person that can get you thru the long and grueling process. There’s a saying that your reputation in Special Operations starts the day you arrive at Special Forces Assessment and Selection. This is true and you must be the best version of yourself and as a team member from the day you step foot in the pipeline.
I would advise them to conduct a full and complete self-assessment and be honest with themselves on whether they are doing it for the right reasons. You have to want it for yourself and yourself only. You will be pushed to your limits and if the drive and desire isn’t there then those who don’t want it for themselves find a way and a reason to quit. Versus finding a way and a reason to finish.
Not sure if you played or seen the game but if you were to design a video game based on your experience as a soldier what would be the one element or scenario you would include into your game design.
I would add the increased fatigue with carrying additional gear. It’s fun in games to earn big guns, etc, but the reality is all that gear slows you down and changes how you can function.
The Infiltration: Every mission has a strategic infiltration that’s only limit is the imagination. From Military Free Fall, to “Trojan Horse” infiltration, I once walked to helicopters, landed at boats, boarded to a shoreline-hit the target, boated out, and flew on a plane back to our base.
I would not only portray the more commonly known theaters like Iraq and Afghanistan but include some of the low intensity conflicts where we supposedly don’t have a presence or only there as “advisors” to their goverments (Colombia and the FARC, Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers and even the Lake Chad Basin and Boko Haram). I would include up-to-date kit, tactics and even vehicles (Technicals, Kamas trucks and the infamous ANA Ford Ranger).
I would absolutely focus on the consumable and life saving requirements of combat. What I mean by that is the fact that we are absolutely limited by what we can carry (ammo, weapons, radios) and every decision you make to prepare for missions is a negotiation with you and the team to ensure you have the right tools for all the jobs you will face. Factor in the reality of fitness, skill and the requirement to make split decisions that save you and your teammates lives and the synthetic environment becomes very real.
Ghost Recon really puts a lot of attention on the gear in the game. From weapons to every thing you need to storm a castle. If you had to equip a Ghost Recon character for real life engagements/missions what would that load out look like?
I think most people will tell you that this question is mission dependent, however, personal equipment such as body armor, weapons, etc. generally remains the same. The equipment worn by the characters in the game and similar to what we wore in the challenge is pretty spot on. We generally would have two of a lot of things that we didn’t necessarily have during the challenge but our equipment was authentic for the most part with some mission dependent changes here and there.
I would focus on Low Vis. Operations. I would kit the character out with appendix carry pistols, ankle med kits, and low vis armor. Low visibility operations are conducted by Special Operations every day, it’s just not often reflected in game play.
If you play or played video games at some point which one(s) were your favorites?
Last gaming system I had was the Atari 2600 and I killed “Sneak N Peak” and some “Ms. Packman.” I was okay at Donkey Kong and Frogger, too. It may sound bad, but we don’t let our kids watch TV on weeknights and we tell them to let other kids PLAY videos games, we want to LIVE the video game.
My favorite games were Metal Gear Solid, the first Ghost Recon, and Counter Strike… anything with Good Guys vs. Bad Guys.
Always enjoyed the Special Operations/Military Style Games. Rainbow Six, SOCOM used to be crowd favorites. And of course the all-time favorite, Madden. Now I play Plants vs Zombies and Fortnite when my son forces me to pick up the sticks.
I have relatively limited exposure to games, but I started playing Counter Strike in college which was always a blast. I did play some of the early versions of Call of Duty and eventually landed at Ghost Recon a couple of iterations ago. I never really migrated from Ghost Recon as it was one of the better modern warfare games out there when I had limited time to play.
To watch the 5.11 Ghost Recon Breakpoint Challenge check out the YouTube channel or sign up for email updates and get the videos emailed directly to your inbox.
For more info on Ghost Recon: Breakpoint visit here.