It is not uncommon for technology designed for the military to be retrofitted and redesigned for civilian use, but at Tac-Ops Laser Tag in Fresno California, what is normally a recreational game for many is being used to refine and maintain the skills service members need to have honed when in a combat zone.
“It’s definitely helping me out bit and keeping my skills because when I go back to my regular job and I’m not a recruiter, I’ll have a little experience and I won’t be so rusty,” says Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Jenkins who frequents the laser tag arena on a regular basis.
The central Californian business is not your average laser tag venue. Resembling training facilities that are familiar to all who have trained in room-clearing or urban warfare, Tac-Ops designs each game around a specific mission such as room clearing, eliminating the enemy or even bomb disarmament. Differing itself further form run-of-the mill laser tag facilities, Tac-Ops emphasizes aspects of combat that you do not find at most laser tag arenas where flashing lights and army-of-one tactics are extremely prevalent.
“You have to play as a team, there has to be teamwork, there has to be communication and that’s the same thing in the Army. If you don’t communicate we’re not to accomplish our mission,” says Army Staf Sgt. Lucas Earnest who also participates in exercises there.
Like other similar facilities, Tac- Ops incorporate weapons systems that resemble the same weapon systems used by today’s Armed Forces which can be programmed to perform different functions depending on the mission that the players choose to execute.
The weapons systems can tell you the amount of “rounds in each clip, how much damage is done to them. We can also put sensors on bystanders, so if someone shoots them we can tell,” says Tac-Ops Laser Tag general manager Dexter Morgan.
Having already been contacted about future collaborations by the National Guard, individuals who are in charge of scheduling maneuvers for the Marine Corps, as well as individuals from local sheriff offices, Tac-ops and locations like it may prove to be of great use for members of both law-enforcement and the Armed Forces looking to hone and maintain their skills while state-side and off-duty.