USAF’S ONLINE AIRMAN CHALLENGE TESTS YOUR SKILLS IN VIDEO GAME FORMAT
By Michael Madrid
Do you like gaming and have dreams of acquiring a career in the Air Force? If so, you’re in luck. The Air Force provides an “Aircade” that teaches real-life Airmen skills to players. Take on over fifteen challenges (like the most popular Airman Challenge), gain experience points, and rank up with authentic Air Force badges.
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Air Force Airman ChallengeAccording to Air Force Gaming, an official gaming program and competition hub for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force, “Over 86% of Airmen between the ages of 18-34 identify as gamers.” Given this statistic, the founders of Air Force Gaming set up a resource for Airmen and Guardians of all ages, ranks, and backgrounds to discover common ground and refine mental acuity, fine motor coordination, and competitive excellence. The Air Force knows many of their young Airmen play video games, so they created their own. But, the Air Force Airman challenge is more than just a game. Players take on real-life scenarios and complete missions similar to those that active Airmen practice every day. They do this by providing a broad scope of what actual missions look like and consist of. Players are asked to pick a mission and gather intel on the situation and assignment before they have to select appropriate specialist operators for each mission.
Mission One: Knock KnockFor example, in the first mission titled “Knock Knock,” players are given a situation and assignment. The situation specifies that insurgent forces are moving to a nearby village and are gathering for an offensive on forward operating base Blackhorse. The mission is to defend the base by providing air support and eliminating aggressive forces before they breach the perimeter. Once the situation and mission are given, players must accurately select three members that best fit the operation. In the mission “Knock Knock,” the three prominent members are the MQ-9 Reaper Sensor Operator (SD), MQ-9 Reaper Pilot, and Tactical Air Control Part Specialist (TACP). Each member is vital to the mission and assignment, so picking the correct members is important to the success of the mission. Once members are selected, players must test their accuracy. Afterward, it’s discovered they must call in airstrikes against enemy positions. Once players test their accuracy, instructions are given on how to complete the mission, and players go on to defend the base by eliminating incoming forces. After players complete the mission, they are given points based on their accuracy and go on to the next task. The Airman Challenge game is fun and simple to play. Plus, players are instructed throughout the mission and are given tons of Air Force terminology.
Mission Two: Ghost Rider GuardianIn mission two, a.k.a. “Ghost Rider Guardian,” players are given a situation that specifies an Air Force Special Ops team is undergoing a covert night mission in the mountains. After their mission, they’ll make their way back to the evacuation zone. The task is to ensure the Special Ops team gets to their evacuation zone on time and intact. Players are given a more extensive list of operators to pick from. Players must select the AC-130 Gunner and the AC-130 Pilot for mission two. After selections are made, players must complete a speed test to assess their ability as an AC-130 Pilot. Once the speed test is done, instructions are given to stop incoming forces from getting to the Special Ops team.
Purpose of the Airman ChallengeWe know the majority of Airmen play video games, but what is the actual purpose of the Airmen Challenge? According to The One Club, a non-profit organization dedicated to advertising excellence, “The challenge is getting potential recruits to recognize the Air Force offers more careers than they imagine and see an opportunity for themselves they never expected. Airman Challenge unveils the true Air Force by creating a gaming experience that’s engaging, challenging, and informative.” The Airman Challenge is an interactive game that inspires young Airmen to seek the many positions available in the Air Force. The Airman Challenge can be a good start for anyone interested in joining the Air Force. It provides a broad perspective of what actual Air Force missions revolve around. Furthermore, it teaches Air Force terminology, requires decision-making skills, and motivates Airmen to find something they want to do in the Air Force.
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