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Team Kamikaze 'Shoots' for First
by Sgt. Chris Eriksen
United States Marine Corps

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan - Their mission was to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy with fire and maneuver.  Their tactic was simple: lay down suppressing fire and close the distance between themselves and the enemy fast.  It was with ‘the luck of the Irish’ that Team Kamikaze, Camp Kinser, came and conquered all.  

Marines from several camps recently came together on the field of battle at the Habu Hill Paintball Range here as part of the Single Marine Program’s Leprechaun Shoot paintball tournament. The tournament included servicemembers from several camps to give them a chance to practice infantry skills against one another. 

“The purpose of the SMP paintball tournaments is to allow the Marines and Sailors that participate an opportunity to enhance the training they have received such as cover and concealment, hand and arm signals, etc.,” said Sergio Morales, SMP coordinator, Marine Corps Community Services.  “This also allows Marines from different units the chance to ‘bond’ and work in teams.  It was also a great morale  booster for the Marines and Sailors.”

The tournament consisted of six five-man teams in single elimination format, according to Morales.  
“Originally we had planned on having six 10-man teams.  Due to the low turnout, we changed it to six five-man teams which actually worked better than the 10-man team format,” Morales said.  “The games were faster and ammunition was no longer an issue due to the speed of the games.”

Each team received 2,000 rounds at the start of the tournament.  This limited supply made planning and tactics an important part of each teams strategy, according to Juan Garcia, Team Kamikazes.

“We had to figure out what kind of strategy we were going to use so we could come out ahead,” the Donna, Texas native said. “Before each match, we planned out what our plan of attack was.  That helped us out a lot because we went through the whole tournament with only two casualties.”

The team’s success depended upon good use of infantry skills, according to Adam Camacho, Team Bofa.

 “Low crawling, flanking movements, suppression fire, as well as good communications with hand signals played a pivotal role in winning and losing,” the Millersburg, Ohio native said. 

The competition was tough between teams Kamikazes and Bofa who both went into the final round of play undefeated.  This resulted in the two teams playing a best-of-three series to decide the winner of the tournament.

 “Bofa was the most challenging team we faced,” Jason Fetter, team Kamikazes, and Pittsburgh, Pa., native said.  “They were the only team to give us some kind of competition.”

The event was successful even though the turnout was not as planners had hoped, according to Morales.

“We were expecting 60 Marines to participate - 10 from each of the six camps. Unfortunately some of the camps couldn’t make it,” Morales said.  
Organizers noted that aside from having fun shooting things, players of varying paintball experience were able to apply their basic infantry skills and become effective teams.

“It's interesting to see the level of play amongst the teams that participated.  Some of the participants were skilled paintballers, a few were there for the first time, and others were just there to ‘shoot’ at something. When placed together, the players became a team and had a great time,” Morales said.
The players enjoyed the chance to use their basic infantry skills and build leadership skills as well, according to Loren Schaefer, Team Kamikazes.
“Overall the competition was all right,” the Denton, Md., native said.  “It gave an excellent chance to exercise squad and fire-team level tactics that all Marines need to be fluent in.”

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