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   August 18, 2017

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Paintball Weekend

A couple of weeks ago we held what will hopefully be an annual event. My three brothers and I and a few friends, paintball players one and all, held our first annual paintball weekend at our family's cabin in Twenty-Nine Palms, California. Twenty-Nine Palms is in the Mojave Desert about 1 hour north of Palm Springs.

The terrain is mostly rolling hills covered with scrub brush with deep sand washes in between. Within 1 mile of our cabin are several rock-covered hills. These hills have some of the best natural paintball fields you have ever seen in your life. They are completely uninhabited. You can get in a CQB, duck your head down and move to another set of rocks and come up in a completely different area, effectively backdooring your opponent! There are literally hundreds of places to hide. The team who outguesses the other team usually wins games. Mind reading is an essential skill!

Plans were to have at least ten players for the three-day weekend. One week before we had twelve committed players and that weekend only six showed up. Family and church commitments halved our group but we were determined to enjoy ourselves regardless.

By late Thursday night all players were present and we started off the weekend with some solid beer drinking around the fire pit in the front yard. The three-quarter moon was bright in the sky and promised to light our way on Friday during our night game.

Friday morning we played at 'Hamburger Hill.' So named because we have one team start at the top of the hill and one at the bottom. On this field the team on the bottom actually has the advantage because there is so much cover on the way up you can sometimes make it to the top undetected. The main highlight of this session was my brother Tim showing off his marksman skills. In one game of attack and defend he let his teammates attack the hill while he stayed behind the starting rock and attempted a few sniper shots.

I was at the top with my friend Chris and my other brother Steve. We sent Steve around to flank the left side while Chris and I would hold the top of the hill. Little did I know that the game would be over in about thirty seconds. I was poking my head over the top rock trying to get a fix on the opponents' position when I heard an all too familiar sssshhhhhhtttthhhhwwwaaack! Right between the eyes My brother had just taken me out with his P68 from about forty yards, uphill!I remember Chris looking at me with a surprised look on his face. He then got up and looked over the rock to see where the shot came from and bwwwaaaappp!Right in the chest, just right of his heart.

Within twenty seconds Tim had taken out the two of us from forty yards with two incredibly well placed shots. Many have argued over whether there are snipers in paintball.Tim would have provided excellent evidence for the "yes" side that morning.

Our friend Scott had been tasked with checking his company's ventilation system a few weeks before this trip. His boss guessed how many smoke bombs it would take to charge their warehouse. About five cases he guessed. It turned out that he overshot his estimate by about four and a half cases! His boss gave him the excess cases and we were going to add another dimension to our games.

Friday afternoon we headed out to 'Mogadishu.' This field is to the north of our cabin. It is so named because it often lends itself to extremely fast play and lots of Close Quarters Battle. The hill is covered with ten foot high rocks evenly space apart with nice sand paths in between these rocks. A player can run to the north behind a hill and run around the other team for an excellent backdoor pic 2opportunity all without being seen. We almost always assign one player responsibility for guarding that area, as being backdoored in our group is extremely embarrassing. There weren't any stand out games in this session but a good time was had by all and it was the first game where we introduced the smoke, although somewhat ineffectively. We would get better!

Our big game was set for Friday night after the moon came up.We had a huge barbecue steak dinner along with a few beers and some fierce two-on-two horseshoe games as we watched the incredible desert sunset.

About ten o'clock Friday night we set out for the field aptly named 'Tora Bora." This field is a dream field. It is about three miles to the east of our cabin but it is about a five-mile drive. This field is about three football fields long and about three fields wide. It is huge. The entire field is covered with rocks similar to 'Mogadishu,' but there are a lot of places where you can climb across, over and under rocks that are much larger on this field. You could easily hold a scenario game with eighty players on each side. The huge size of the field and the fact that we were playing at night and with smoke made for some slow paced, hunt and seek games that night.

It was our usual session of exciting games and more than a few 'surprise' attacks on unsuspecting players. I think all of us at one time or another got the mother loving crap scared out of us. One incident was perpetrated on my brother Tim by yours truly.

The game had been on for about ten minutes. I had made contact with Tim and retreated. Tim popped smoke and I had to decide what to do. Tim and I have an ongoing rivalry of trying to outguess each other. I guessed that he would probably drop down onto the lower field and try to come in from behind me. I dropped down myself about fifty feet and waited to see if I could hear him moving. After about three minutes I decided to move out and try to find him. I had crawled about fifty feet over and around the rocks when I stopped suddenly. I didn't really hear anything or see anything. I think I just felt that he was here. I put myself in a comfortable shooting position with my gun up and ready. I sat for a couple of minutes with no sound or movement coming from him at all.

Suddenly, I noticed a reflection in the darkness about fifteen feet from me. I watched it for at least three minutes. No movement whatsoever. I figured the moonlight was playing tricks on me and almost talked myself out of keeping my eye on it.But there was something unnatural about the reflection that I couldn't put out of my head.I didn't really think it could be anybody because no one can keep their head that still for that long.I decided to trust my instincts. I took aim and fired.A distinct thump and a short yell of Aaaaaggghhh!It was Tim. He was holed up waiting for me to come get him. We had sat less than fifteen feet from each other for almost ten minutes. If it weren't for the reflection coming off of Tim's goggles, I would have walked right into his ambush.

All games to this point were straight elimination. The teams we picked, actually Ro-Sham-Bo'd, for were perfectly balanced and we kept them the whole weekend. But we needed to add some spice to the games and we decided to set up a scenario.

The scenario we decided on was an 'Executive Protection' Scenario. This scenario consisted of (1)Sniper/Assassin, (1)Principle and four Executive Protection Specialists or bodyguards. The game was set for Saturday night. We were going to use the cabin for this scenario. The windows have plywood shutters over them that can be closed for security. We lowered these and made a nice fire in the pit to make it difficult for the protection team to see beyond the picket fence surrounding the cabin.

The protection team would drive about a mile down the road so that the Assassin could set up. Then they would drive back to the cabin with their lights off. The Principle was seated in the middle of Chris's full size Ford truck, one bodyguard on each side and one in the bed.

The Assassin had thirty minutes to take out the Principle who would be seated on the porch. The protection team, once they got the principle in place, would have to remain inside the fenced yard but they could protect the Principle any way that they saw fit.

We played five games and all were different and all were a complete blast! Adding the truck and the cabin into the scenario added a completely different feel from normal games. Also, having each player assigned an actual job and areas of responsibility added a new dimension to the games.

Two games stood out. The first game I sort of cheated. Well, no one said that the Assassin couldn't hide IN the cabin! I let the team come in and place the principle on the front porch, all while standing behind the door inside the cabin. I decided that since I was 'sort of' cheating' I would not engage my friends from point blank range. Instead, I would only attempt to shoot the Principle and take my lumps after that.

I waited about ten minutes so that the protection team would let its guard down a little bit.I checked my P68 to make sure I was off safety with a round chambered. I positioned myself so that I could open the door and exit and shoot in the quickest time possible.I took a couple of relaxation breaths and SSSWWWOOOOSHH.I swung the door open.Chris was just to the left of the doorframe with his back to me.Both of the other bodyguards were to the right and on the away side of the Principle.There was no one between the Principle and me! I half dove straight out of the door, falling on my left shoulder and side. As I was going down I took one shot. It seemed like slow motion. I saw the Principles eyes go wide and I saw him flinch and try to roll away to the right. I saw the explosion of bright green paint on his side just under his arm as I hit the ground and simultaneously felt a sharp pain in my right shoulder. I had 'killed' the Principle but Chris had reacted incredibly fast and shot me almost before I hit the ground! The other two protectors stood with their mouths agape. Looking at me, wondering, "How the hell did you get on the porch??!!" They did not hear me come out the door. As far as they knew, I simply 'appeared' on the porch. I had completely blown their minds! Kudos to Chris for his quick reactions and not losing his focus. Even though I got the Principle, he took me down fast.

This story is getting long in the tooth so I will give a brief summary of the second game of note. I was the Assassin again (after begging my cohorts to give me another chance). Please see the diagram to follow the story.

As the Assassin I laid down behind the windbreaks to the west of the cabin. Tim saw me from the truck as they drove past my position. Scott parked the truck as you see it in the diagram.


Since Tim saw me, he told the Principle to stay in the truck. He and Scott were going to go to the west side of the cabin and try and shoot me. They couldn't shoot me and I couldn't shoot them. Then I chopped a ball in the Phantom I had borrowed from Scott. I couldn’t get the gun to cock and I had Tim and Scott both moving to the scrub brush.


I moved to position (2) trying to put a little distance between us so that I could fix the gun. I was not successful and I had to once again retreat to position (3). I was finally able to get the gun to cock but I could not be sure a ball had loaded properly. I had to play like I only had one shot left. I decided to hit the principle with the last shot but I had to get away from these guys first. I formulated a plan and set it in motion.

First, I lit two smoke bombs under heavy fire. By this time Tim and Scott were only a couple of bushes away from me and they were laying paint on my position. I tossed the smoke bombs about ten feet to the west and forward of my position. The smoke was working perfectly. I t was laying down a solid blanket in front of my position, flowing towards the fifth-wheel trailer.

I wanted Tim and Scott to think that I was going to try and make my escape behind the trailer and around to the truck. They bit. Tim figured this was my plan and started making his way to the trailer to cut me off. Scott was behind him but was also moving toward the smoke. I ran the opposite direction about thirty yards and then headed north at a full sprint, trying to get the jump on them so I could reach the truck and shoot the Principle.

It was working! I was almost ready to cut toward the truck when Tim had seen my silhouette against the city lights. My bad. I had straightened up when running and that gave me away. They both busted out of their positions and ran full speed at me pumping away. They were shooting rapidly but I was not taking hits and I couldn't figure out why. The reason why was they were both out of ammo! They were getting ready to reload when I made my break. Dumb luck.

I continued to run to the truck and by that time I had realized they were out of ammo and I still had one shot (maybe). I could see Chris looking around as I reached the truck. I was thinking about where I should shoot him so as not too cause him too much pain since it would be point blank. I went to yank open the door and….the sonuvabitch had locked the door!! I was momentarily stunned. I had not expected this. I turned to run to the other door when I was tackled from behind by Tim who was yelling, "Your dead!" I yelled, "BULLCRAP!" and shook myself away from him. I ran to the other side of the truck and tried the door. It was locked as well. Scott then came running around the front of the truck and I decided to use my one round to take him out. He was only about four feet away when I centered my gun on his chest and pulled the trigger. Boom! Scott jumped a little and looked at his chest. No ball! I had not been able to chamber a round.

Scott was still out of ammo and Tim was on the other side of the truck so I made a dash to the storage building about fifty feet to the north of the truck. I kneeled down and tried to un-stick the Phantom so that I could make another charge. I went to look around the building and BAAAAMM! Tim shot me in the chest. He had reloaded one ball when I was dealing with Scott. It was over.

I had not gotten my adrenaline pumping that much in a game in a long time. Chris said that when I tried to open the door the truck shook so much he thought I was going to tear the door off of the hinges. Man I was pumped!

All in all we had a great time and we are all looking forward to our next Paintball Weekend.




- Helmet


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