By Seth Manchester
Name: Mark Rogers
Marker of Choice: Tippmann A5 w/ Special Ops Paintball MP5 SD3 Kit
Paintball Team Affiliation: Team FEAR, Morgantown, WV
Play Style: Scenario Ball, Scout/Recon, Light
Service Branch: Army National Guard
MOS: 13F: Fire Support Specialist, AKA The Forward Observer
SM: What got you into paintball?
MR: I have always been an avid paintball fanatic. Ever since I picked up one of the pump action Brass Eagle Paintball Guns when I was 11, I had always played with the mind set of being a real life soldier. As I grew older and more into the sport, I started feeling less about playing soldier and more about being apart of the sport and a team. And though I play to mimic military tactics, I play not to sharpen any high speed military training, or to attempt to look cool, or anything that would make me look above my peers just because of my Military Status, but I play to enjoy the sport with friends and family. I do it for fun, not work. A quote I like to use is “Work Hard, Play Hard.”
SM: What lead you to join the Military?
MR: Military service is something I have always wanted to do since I was young. I’ve always idolized soldiers, and I’ve always respected what they did for our country. When I got older, I understood what they did, and I wanted to be apart of it. I wanted to serve my country, I wanted to protect and help those in need. I wanted to represent our nations finest by being apart of them. I love what I do now, and I’d never take back my decision of enlisting. I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do with my life, and I’m now one of those individuals who I idolize, and now I strive to be the Soldier that people look up to now.
SM: Being you were a paintball player prior to enlisting, what are some of the skills did you use as a player that helped you in basic training?
MR: Honestly, I can vouch for paintball actually helping individuals prior to going to Basic Training. The Woodsball/Scenario Ball play styles really help you adapt quickly to the Field Training Exercises, which you have two to three during basic training alone. The experiences you have during playing the sport can help you train to reacting to fire better, understanding basic military movements, and keeping a cool head under fire. Of course, nothing can compare to getting shot at by real weapons, but the Military does use Paintball to help simulate realistic scenarios for training purposes, so indeed, your training can benefit from playing paintball. Just don’t try to show off or be cocky when you go out in the field just because your Drill Sergeants won’t like know it Alls, and no one liked getting CAPED (Corrective Action through Physical Exercise) in the field.
SM: There are some critics of the Milsim aspect of the game, being that you play paintball and as an active duty soldier, how would you address these critics?
MR: I don’t consider paintball anymore than a sport and my favorite hobby. Calling it a war game is FAR from. Paintball is designed with the community in mind. Team based game play in a stress relieving environment, while also getting some good exercise is much different than a war game in my opinion.
War games are designed to stress an individual, segregate them from civilized life, and to exhaust them. Now please tell me where anyone who’s played paintball has had that experience.
Paintball is a sport that allows the community to participate, no matter the individual, play style or budget. Be a city boy or the rural country girl, paintball is fun for everyone. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want to legally shoot someone with a ‘high’ powered weapon and not actually injure anyone? It’s fun! I strongly disagree with people who feel its ‘barbaric’, and if anyone who is reading this thinks otherwise without prior playing paintball, I strongly urge you to try the sport before making a judgment on it!
SM: What do you take from the service that makes you a better player or a person?
MR: In Basic Training (Army only) we are driven to be highly trained and professional individuals. We learn the Seven Army Values, Warrior Ethos, and the Soldiers Creed to instill in us the pride and honor of being the soldier, and how to upkeep that pride in honor by displaying discipline in how we act, how we dress, down to how we walk even. That being said, being a better person is apart of our job. From helping out the needy, answering the call for our Nation to step up and serve, or even simply donating part of their .paycheck through allotments, Soldiers are trained to be civilized just as much as they are trained to perform their tasks on the battlefield.
As a player, being a soldier helps by knowing how to take charge during a situation in the playing field. We understand what it takes to shake hands, and call it a good game, win or lose. Soldiers uphold the highest standards our nations could put forth, on and off the battlefield or the playing field, and we will ultimately smile, and enjoy the times we have. No matter what, we make best of any situation.
As I said before, I don’t play paintball to show off my training or to prove I’m better than someone else, because I will never consider myself better than anyone. I play to enjoy the sport and time with friends and family.
SM: Milsim and magazine fed has become a popular game set up in recent years, how do you think this has benefited paintball?
MR: More realistic weapons give a more realistic feel, which I know is what a lot of players, including myself. I feel mag fed markers and more realistic styled markers will help those searching for that call of duty or real life feel get what they want.
In the end, I feel these types of .markers will only bring more people to the sport, and the more people supporting the sport and the industry means the more you will see paintball in your local area, the more players you can enjoy a game with, etc.
SM: How do you think paintball is made better by the players who are vets or have seen combat?
MR: I’ve personally seen vets lead the way in paintball. Battle hardened, retired NCO’s pushing the limits of the team in order to gain an advantage. I personally follow the veterans around the field, because I know there are few individuals who could do a better job. These are the former leaders of our Military who know what they ate doing, and they always inspire me in the field to play better, be stronger, and move faster. They were trained to do just that too. They are experienced, and in the end, I love how they affect the game and turn the tides of the battle. They definitely know how to make the game great, because they know best how to have fun in the worst of situations.
Mark Rogers is in many ways the embodiment of paintball and patriotism. He’s played the field as a player and now is proudly serving his country and community. The folks at the Ford Report would also like to congratulate PFC. Rogers on his recent engagement.