JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) --
The Air Force Services Center and the Department of the Air Force Gaming achieved two major firsts in San Antonio over the Memorial Day weekend – the first Department of Defense Armed Forces Esports Championship and the inaugural Air Force Gaming Minor League Championships.
The esports completion was a part of the FORCECON 2022: Innovation – Technology – Gaming convention, an event to spur collaboration between the military, industry and academia, with a goal of tackling some of the military’s toughest challenges in the areas of force development, and installation and mission support.
Housed under the AFSVC, AFG supports the Department of the Air Force’s resiliency and retention efforts through the creation of a global esports effort bringing Airmen and Guardians together through community experiences and competitive leagues.
Since 2019, the DAF Gaming League has steadily added participants over two competitive seasons. More than 25,000 Total Force gamers participate, including active-duty Airmen and Guardians, National Guard and Reserve, as well as Defense Department civilians.
“After two seasons and the third season underway, the success of Air Force Gaming will keep growing, bringing Air Force and Space Force Gaming to our other military communities while empowering our community to practice, compete and build camaraderie, leadership and connectedness,” said Col. Christopher Parrish, AFSVC commander.
Facing off against the U.S. Army Esports team in the final, Air Force Gaming took the title after going undefeated throughout the tournament. AF Gaming beat the Marine Corps and U.S. Army Esports teams to win the very first esports competition recognized by the U.S. government.
“This (Armed Forces) win means more for esports as a whole than it does for me, obviously it means a lot to me, but for esports, this is the first federally recognized event,” said Senior Airman Cole Schlegel, DAF Gaming team. “So, we are the roots, this is definitely going down in the history books. This is awesome to be a part of.”
AFSVC officials recently expanded the program by adding the minor league, similar to intramural sports minor league. The second league allows gamers of all ages, including retirees and young family members.
“One adage that I’ve always disliked is ‘it’s not about who wins or loses, it’s about how you play the game,’ said Maj. Gen. Tom Wilcox, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center commander. “With Air Force Gaming, it’s 100% true. We’re all about bringing our armed forces together, building communities and enjoying friendly, spirited competition along the way.”
And the winners are:
Inaugural Armed Forces Championship winners:
Air Force Staff Sgt. Shane Posey, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado
Staff Sgt. Trey Christensen, Kentucky Air National Guard
Senior Airman Cole Schlegel, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland
Airman 1st Class Allyson Stephenson, JB Charleston, South Carolina
The inaugural Minor League Championships winners:
Rocket League championship
The Hartford Yard Goats with Senior Airman Hayden Kelsey, JB Langley-Eustis, Virginia
Senior Airman Isaiah Monroe, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
Space Force Specialist 3 Ethan Defrance, Buckley AFB, Colorado
Team Roll Out with Senior Airman Ethan Harkey, Buckley AFB, and Airman 1st Class Timothy Craig, Minot AFB, North Dakota
"There isn’t a better vehicle to make esports history than through the official Armed Forces Sports programming and as host of the first ever federally recognized esports sporting event,” said Capt. Oliver Parsons, AFSVC deputy chief of DAF Fitness and Sports.
To keep current on the upcoming DAF Gaming season or to join, visit here, or see the latest highlights from the season on Facebook and Twitter.