MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Two teams of six took their stances across from each other, divided by an inflatable, paintsplattered urban war zone.
Suddenly a gun fight erupted. Marines took cover behind airfilled bunkers and sighted in at a high-knee position.One by one, shooters were picked off, waving their weapons in the air to signal retreat.
“Get off the field!” Lance Cpl. Tyler Mast, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, yelled from behind the net. “He’s out!” Five teams of Marines battled for first place in the point-accumulation Crossfire Paintball tournament here Jan. 22 as part of the Commander’s Cup annual challenge.
According to Staff Sgt. Ernest E. Lawson, MWSS-171 player, the object of the game is simple. “You destroy your opponent, grab the flag and take it to the other side,” he said.
Teams have three minutes during each round to unleash fury on one another and accumulate as many points as they can. “It is a real aggressive sport,” he said. “You’re playing against another human being.”
Killing the enemy will score a team four points. Pulling the flag from a red cone located in the middle of the battlefield before the round is over will score 20 points for the team.
If the player manages to hang the flag on the other side of the field, the team gets 50 points and any opponents left standing earns the team two points each.
“Pulling the flag is equal to eliminating the whole team,” said Lawson.
Teams without female players were automatically deducted points. The team with the most accumulated points at the end of the tournament won a first place trophy and $100 toward their unit party fund even if a different team won the majority of the games.
“You could win every game, but it’s the points that really matter,” said Lawson.
“It’s a big mental game,” said Lance Cpl. William Martin, a CLC-36 player. “Communication is key to winning games.”
Marines, breathing heavy with adrenaline, proudly flaunted their battle wounds while they reloaded for the next round. Marine Lance Cpl. Rafael Cruz on the O team managed to walk out of the first round with only a quarter-size welt on his hand.
“A lucky shooter caught me while my hand was exposed,” said Cruz.
Lance Cpl. Garrit Fox, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron player, was caught by surprise when he took a hit to the face in the third round of the first game.
He walked off the field with a mask covered in green paint to show for it.
Other Marines from all teams walked away smiling with paintball-riddled arms swollen like golf-balls.
“It stings at first,” said Lawson. “Then a couple of days later you get bruised.”
MWSS-171 accumulated a total of 952 points which put them in first place.
Combat Logistics Company 36 came in 2nd with 674 points. O placed 3rd with 643 points, H&HS came in 4th place with 614 points, and the Branch Health Clinic placed 5th with 28 points because they were unable to finish the tournament.
“This is the first part of the Commander’s Cup event held every year,” said Martin. “You get a certain amount of points to be designated to certain units at the end of the year. I love the sportsmanship and sense of companionship.”
“This is a good way to get units together and have a great time,” said Darci Kruse, event coordinator. “I think (the event) turned out really well, and we were able to take advantage of the new range being open.”
For more information about the Crossfire Paintball range, visit the Web site at http://www.mccsiwakuni.com/paintball/or call 254-3822.
Originally published: Marines.mil