Friday, August 16th 2013, I had the privilege of being among the first group of people to experience a new form of tactical entertainment. A new venture called Adventure Combat Ops held its first public even in Canton, Ohio and I was part of the first foray into the twisted creation of the group’s highly experienced team. Arriving early to facilitate interviews and photo opportunities prior to embarking on the event, I had the pleasure of meeting the men and women behind this new adventure. Drawn from the shadowy world of Special Operations, the minds behind Adventure Combat Ops are understandably hesitant to submit to interviews. Some of them spoke to me freely but asked that their full names not be published. I will respect their wishes in my articles regarding this event. Suffice to say, they are real deal, pipe-hitting badasses from Delta Force, Army Special Forces, Army Ranger Battalions, Navy SEAL teams, Marine Corps Special Operations (MARSOC), Air Force Special Operations, and 160th SOAR.
Drawing on their training and experience, the team put together a mini black ops experience that civilians, as well as broken old soldiers, can enjoy. The impressive operation involves professionally produced visuals, life-like equipment, and the attitude and bravado one would expect from such people. Following your command briefings, you kit-up, break off into teams, each led by an appropriate operator, and embark on your specified mission. From hostage rescue to intelligence gathering, each team has to accomplish its mission in surroundings embellished with smoke, strobes, and impressive sound systems. This is far from a carnival house of horrors.
Prior to the event launch, I caught sight of none other than “Mad” Max Mullen, hard charger and recent inductee to the Ranger Hall of Fame. As the event kicked off and the participants began breaking up into teams, Max pointed his commanding finger at me and said, “You are with me.” I had intended to join the hostage rescue team but, one does not simply say no to Max.
Following equipment checks and communications checks, Team Mad Max, with chants of “March or Die,” set off on our mission. We breached the east side door of an abandoned school looking like a giant soup sandwich. But, with only two military men among our band of shooters and looters, (myself and Chris Allen) it was to be expected. I tried to remain content playing the role of a normal person but, after getting clumped together inside the first hallway, our group looking like an orgy of jack-rabbits, the military guy took over in my head and started barking orders. What can I say? Old habits die hard.
As if working through a tactical situation with a bunch of untrained civvies wasn’t bad enough, once we made it around the first corner, the zombies came at us.
Oh, I neglected to mention that part, I suppose. ZOMBIES! Our mission was to clear our area, collect intel left behind by chemical weapon-seeking terrorists, link up with our other teams, and do so while fighting off the undead horde. In a nutshell, it was fun as all get out.
I did go down as a result of a friendly fire incident though. I also learned that an airsoft pellet to an exposed ear hurts like a sonofabitch. But, I marched on with Max, fighting through the onslaught of the undead, dodging friendly fire, and barking orders all along the way.
The event will hit Miami in the near future and then proceed on to other venues around the country. If you get the opportunity to participate, I highly recommend that you not miss it.