The Booth Armed Forces Group (AFG) hosted their annual paintball tournament last Sunday, on May 6th. The event, in which veterans partnered with their civilian classmates provided Booth students the unique opportunity to see former military members, some of who served in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, show their teamwork, tactics, and ultimately have some fun too.
The tournament took place at Paintball Explosion East Dundee, Illinois – approximately an hour drive from the Loop. AFG Co-Chair Daniel Gottesman, Class of 2019, and former Israeli Air Force Fighter Pilot, planned the event. Preparation for the event was months-long and involved working with the staff at Paintball Explosion, coordinating buses, and designing and producing t-shirts for those attending. According to those who attended, the event was an overwhelming success.
Approximately 70 students, including several undergraduates, took part. Attendees had the chance to play team versus team battles, including elimination, “fort defense,” and capture the flag. The veterans, who played on both teams, were admittedly impressed with their civilian peers. “I think some of the best players were the non-veterans. I’m glad we got to see them come out,” said Scott Jones Class of 2019, and former US Navy Submarine Officer.
Non-veterans attending ranged from future veteran undergraduate ROTC members to a former National Football League player. Additionally, non-veterans had the chance to see one veteran, Mike Sanchez, Class of 2019 and former US Navy Submarine Officer, wear his old uniform. His uniform, a digital blue pattern, unfortunately failed to offer any real camouflage in the woods and buildings at the complex. It still, however, caused a lot of smiles amongst the students attending. Leila Rohd-Thomsen, Class of 2019, told her friends, “I was a bit apprehensive at first, but I actually had a ton of fun.”
The Armed Forces Group is the largest veteran organization at the University of Chicago. It is open to all veterans, from any country. Its primary goals are getting veterans into top tier jobs, connecting veterans to their peers around the world, hosting veterans’ social events, and providing admissions assistance for veteran applicants. Currently, the AFG has members from not just the United States, but Israel, South Korea, and Turkey. Veterans in the club range from Logistics Airmen to Navy SEALs and includes veterans of every rank and gender.
Thus, making Booth one of the few places where you can ‘battle’ alongside Army Rangers, SEALs, Scouts, Fighter Pilots, and Military Accountants.
Chris Treyz is a first year student at Booth and interning at Kraft Heinz for their CEO Leadership Program. Prior to Booth he served as a US Army Cavalry Officer with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Since leaving the Army, he has worked in intelligence agency consulting and banking.