Spc. Jayden Smith, Spc. Blake Rabdau and Sgt. Matthew McCraw, all from C Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, earned top prizes at the Soldier Showdown II virtual gaming tournament in June. They stopped inside the Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers facility July 20 to pick up new gaming gear. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Three 10th Mountain Division Soldiers team up to win Armywide online gaming tournament
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (July 21, 2021) – It’s no stretch of the imagination that a team of infantry Soldiers might excel in an online combat game.
Three 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers did just that at the Soldier Showdown II virtual gaming tournament in June, sponsored by the Army eSports and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Spc. Jayden Smith, Spc. Blake Rabdau and Sgt. Matthew McCraw, all from C Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, competed against teams from Army installation around the world in the “Call of Duty: Warzone” tournament. Each came away with an armful of prizes, including a gaming headset, keyboard and mouse.
“I can use all of these,” Smith said. “So, it definitely worked out for us.”
Smith said that they have been playing as a team for just over a year, with some success in online tournaments.
“This was the first one all three of us won together,” Smith said. “A lot of the other tournaments were duos, and we won a couple of those and had taken second place in a couple of others.”
This was also the first Army-sponsored tournament they participated in, and Smith said they found it easier than the normal esports tournaments that draw highly competitive gamers.
“Typically, in those other tournaments you play against people who are really good and put in a lot more hours than we do,” he said. “That’s probably why we don’t win as much.”
Also, their day jobs keep them busy.
“I’d say that typically we just play for fun,” McCraw said. “With the work schedule we have in the Army, it’s hard to play for more than that.”
In fact, they lost out on some of the bigger prizes because the team couldn’t compete in one qualifying round.
“We won the first week, got first place in that qualifier, but then the second week we had EIB (Expert Infantryman Badge) training,” Rabdau said.
McCraw said that they also placed first in the third qualifier to get to the finals. They knew their team was a top performer, but they were not certain if they were contenders for prizes until the end.
“We were able to kind of track how we were doing on a leaderboard, and then the Army streamed the final tournament so we could tune in when we weren’t playing and see how other teams were doing,” he said.
“But we knew after week one that we could win,” Smith said. “We ended up winning that week by, I think, 102 points, and we figured if we could play that well for the rest of the qualifiers we could win it all.”
Encouraged by their win, all three Soldiers said that they would like to participate in the next Army esports tournament. Soldiers can register for future gaming events, or play locally, at the Fort Drum Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers facility in Bldg. 10650 on 5th Armored Division Drive.
To learn more about BOSS activities and events, visit www.drum.armymwr.com/programs/boss, www.facebook.com/bossfortdrum or follow them on Instagram (@fortdrumboss).