An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | July 14, 2022

Air Force Gaming: Community and camaraderie through gaming

By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey , 168th Wing Public Affairs

 Station ready, headset on, comm up, mission clear. Airmen and Guardians stand ready to engage the target, separated by thousands of miles and a multitude of time zones. This is nothing new for our service members, except this is happening off duty and is the Department of the Air Force’s newest intramural program—Air Force Gaming.

While the Air Force was born out of the early days of aviation, the digital domain is a reality for both the warfighter and for everyday life that becomes more relevant on a daily basis. AFG stood up in 2020 as an official new e-sport intramural program by the Air Force Services Center. Its purpose is to help support Air Force and Space Force resiliency and retention while building a shared community to engage the next generation of Airmen and Guardians, promoting teamwork and digital literacy. Its undeniable e-sports are gaining in popularity as the Air Force has identified that more than 80% of Airmen under the age of 35 self-identify as gamers, playing at least six hours per week.

Here at Eielson AFB, Senior Airman James Gilchrest, 168th Communications Flight Client Systems specialist volunteered as a game ambassador for role-playing games, helping moderate and create events and activities for Airmen involved with that gaming genre. Now, as a program manager for Air Force Gaming, Gilchrest is heading up the development of a program to engage Airmen and Guardians interested in transitioning to careers in the gaming industry after their time ends with the military.

“It’s not just about gaming. It’s a group of total force members that connect through gaming,” said Gilchrest. “In AFG, you can pose a question like, “Has anyone struggled with resume writing?” and guaranteed in 5-10 minutes there’s going to be an answer.”

Gilchrest also created and manages a Discord server, an online communication service popular with gamers, to bring members of his own communications flight together and connect more outside of work.

When Gilchrest approached Captain Anthony Robinson, Commander, 168th Communications Flight, with the idea, Captain Robinson said, “Go for it. I support you if that’s what you want to do. It helps us connect with people we would never connect with. It opens up more doors and more exposure for Alaska since we’re far away from everybody else; it gives us more of a voice in the big scheme of things. I’m happy that Gilchrest is a member of the team because he loves helping people.”

When asked about the camaraderie and team-building aspects of AFG, Gilchrest said, “You’re playing together, but at some point, you’re not talking about the game. You’re having conversations. “Hey, how’s your wife? How are your kids?” At some point, the game isn’t the important thing anymore. That’s where it’s not just about this e-sports competitive edge thing. Gaming is only one aspect of what AFG is.”
Alaska Army Guardsmen compete in Best Warrior Competition 2024
May 21, 2024
laska Army National Guard Sgt. Brendan White, an infantryman assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, is awarded 2024 Noncomissioned Officer of the Year in a closing ceremony during the AKARNG’s State Best Warrior Competition at Camp Carroll on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 18, 2024.

Gobi Wolf 2024 strengthens partnerships for disaster resilience
May 20, 2024
Airman 1st Class Stefany Brummer, a fire protection specialist with the Alaska Air National Guard, operates the backup safety line during the Field Training Exercise’s high-angle rescue techniques training at Gobi Wolf 2024 in Choibalsan, Mongolia, May 9. The teams showcased best practices in safely extracting trapped individuals from precarious situations.

Alaska National Guard kicks off initial phase of Kodiak Arctic Care ‘24
May 9, 2024
Members of the U.S. Public Health Service offload from an Alaska Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 144th Airlift Squadron, 176th Wing, during Kodiak Arctic Care 24 Innovative Readiness Training Mission at Kodiak, Alaska, May 6, 2024.

Alaska Air Guard’s 168th Wing Refuels Red Flag Exercise
May 8, 2024
A U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon approaches the boom of a 168th Wing KC-135 Stratotanker during Red Flag Alaska 24-1 aerial refueling operations over Alaska April 24, 2024. The 168th Wing provided air refueling during the exercise.

Exercise Gobi Wolf 2024 Begins in Heart of Mongolian Steppe
May 8, 2024
Brig. Gen. B. Uuganbayar, left, deputy director of the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency, presents a commemorative anniversary plaque to Australian Maj. Gen. Scott Winter, deputy commanding general - strategy and plans for the U.S. Army Pacific, during the Gobi Wolf 2024 opening ceremony at the Governor’s Palace in Choibalsan, Mongolia, May 7, 2024. Gobi Wolf is an annual joint exercise coordinated by the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Army Pacific that focuses on interagency coordination within Mongolia, as well as foreign humanitarian assistance during a large-scale natural disaster.

Alaska State Defense Force volunteerism shines at Mat-Su Arctic Winter Games
April 24, 2024
na

First annual AKNG Earth Day inspires youth, brings awareness to military’s role in conservation
April 24, 2024
N/A

U.S. Army and Marine Corps forge joint efforts to enhance aviation tactics
April 23, 2024
An Alaska Army National Guard UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 207th Aviation Troop Command performs a defensive maneuver while evading a simulated aerial threat during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 2-24 near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 28, 2024.

Alaska Air National Guard officer shares story with Service High JROTC
April 22, 2024
Alaska Air National Guard officer shares story with Service High JROTC

Alaska Air National Guard rescues stranded skiers at Kenai Fjords National Park
April 22, 2024
Stranded Skiers Rescued from Kenai Fjords National Park via Helicopter