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2019 Warrior Zone Esports Majors competition held on JBLM

Servicemembers learn to work together while competing against one another for the 2019 Warrior Zone Esports Majors Video Game Competition held on Joint Base Lewis-McChord May 4. Photo credit: Gary Lott

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How does a servicemember who enjoys spending his free time staring at a screen playing video games, alone, not only meet new people, but also make money while doing it? The JBLM Warrior Zone, of course!

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) played host to a newer on-base video game competition called the 2019 JBLM Warrior Zone Esports Majors: Super Smash Bros Ultimate powered by USAA. This Esports contest (multiplayer video game competitive tournament) was held in the Warrior Zone located on JBLM-Lewis North last weekend.

"It's a great opportunity to meet new people, to see the new Warrior Zone and see what it has to offer," said Spc. Cody Hilsky. "It's a great place to hang out and they've got everything you could ever need for gaming."

It wasn't just fun and games at this competition, servicemembers were literally playing for hundreds of dollars.

"They're playing Super Smash Brothers ... and getting paid!" said USAA JBLM Military Affairs member, Major, U.S. Army (Ret) Jeffrey Battle.

Various prizes, food items, a $500 grand prize and other logistical support for the 2019 JBLM Warrior Zone Esports Majors was provided by JBLM Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), USAA and the JBLM Better Opportunities for Single Servicemembers (BOSS) programs.

Jeffrey Battle is considered what many might call "old-school" when it comes to video games, but still understands how important technology is when it comes to the newest generation of servicemembers.

"For me it's really different; I'm a little older and my most challenging video game was Space Invaders, and in that one you always died so you knew it was going to end," said Battle. "I don't really understand all the joysticks and controls but we (USAA) understand this is what they want to do and so this is where we want to be and what we want to support."

In a career choice that literally can keep you on the move, having a little downtime is crucial, and when you can meet new friends while playing your favorite video game for cash prizes, it's a win-win all around.

"There were many smiling and laughing servicemembers who took part and those smiles make it all worth it!" said JBLM MWR Representative Angela Frasier. "We had a large tournament bracket with 64 players, a few hundred spectators, and we even live-streamed the event online."

In a world where streaming is taking place at military installations across the globe, it makes sense that JBLM MWR, USAA and JBLM BOSS would shift their focus onto the electronic world ruled by joysticks, keyboards and controllers.

"A lot of people are streamers so it's nice to meet other streamers and network and get to know different people out here," said Spc. Hilsky. "These events are major for people who are just getting started and want to get out, want to get further into streaming and Twitch, and even play competitively."

When asked what the most important thing about the event was, it wasn't money, or free pizza or playing video games that made Spc. Hilsky's list.

"The most important thing is that you get to meet new people and other servicemembers and build a friendship and a bond in the community."

Just in case you missed this video game competition, don't worry, because there are still a few more options left in the year.

2019 JBLM Esports calendar:

July 13 -- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Sept. 28 -- Madden NFL 20

Nov. 16 -- NBA 2K20

If you're brave enough and want to challenge the winners to a few rounds online, here is their gamer tags.

2019 Warrior Zone Majors Winners:

1st Place $500 Winner: "Gooley" (Air Force member, JBLM)

2nd Place $250 Winner: "fmgBuck" (U.S. Marine Corps member, Naval Base Kitsap)

3rd Place $100 Winner: "DTAWOM" (Army member, JBLM) 

View the entire results here:

For more information on the JBLM Warrior Zone or upcoming Esports events, visit: or follow them on Twitch: or on their Facebook page:

Throughout the day, several interviews were also conducted with various program coordinators, USAA sponsors and event servicemembers participating in the competition on the JBLM Warrior Zone Twitch social media platform.

Check out some of those highlights by clicking any of the links below:

1. Interview: USAA:

2. Interview: Verena Mei, professional racecar stunt driver special appearance:

3. Interview: Darlene Johnson, Community & Leisure Branch Chief, US Air Force HQ, San Antonio:

4. Interview: SGT Lim, JBLM BOSS President:

5. Interview: Jordan Smith, Co-founder, Military & Veteran Gamers Online Community:

6. Winners' Ceremony:

Of course, there's TONS more on the live stream. Watch it here:

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