Camouflage clad cadets peered over the tall, golden grass, guns at the ready, searching for foes.
The enemy lay amidst the cover of trees, brush and cacti.
One move, and quick fingers repeatedly pressed the semi-automatic triggers.
The power of CO2 propelled a spray of bullets — splattering the targets and causing a shout of “I’m out.”
The Texas State Army ROTC played paintball Saturday at Freeman Ranch to conclude a day of field training exercises.
The two hours of paintball games were a reward for a morning spent navigating rugged terrain with nothing more than a map, compass and protractor. Cadets were able to unwind in the relaxed atmosphere while building camaraderie and unit cohesion.
“We’re all brothers from different mothers,” said Christian Gonzalez, law enforcement sophomore.
Cadets were issued a gun, CO2 cartridge and colored paintballs. Purple and green distinguished one team from the other, but friendly fire was inevitable as everyone was dressed in either camouflage or black.
Two teams of freshmen and sophomore cadets competed in four rounds of paintball. The first round was a last-man-standing game. Cadets fired at each other until all members of the opposing team were eliminated. The second round was a series of two capture the flag games. Team 2 won both games, sprinting to the flag before Team 1 could react.
“They were playing dirty,” Gonzalez said. “That’s pretty much what happened.”
Philip Schweinsberg, biology sophomore, described the tactics his team used to win.
“The accuracy of getting hit while running at full sprint is low,” Schweinsberg said. “I just told my team to run with me. When I got the flag, they were like a human shield for me. It was all teamwork.”
The next game was a throwback to the days of early America. Cadets formed two lines, facing one another, and took shots at the opposing team from the hip. The cadets took a step forward after firing three rounds. The shots were not always accurate, but bruises were left and blood was drawn.
“That’s what we were looking forward to all week,” said Anthony Lopez, law enforcement freshman. “It was awesome.”
“Some of them hurt,” said Ryan Lopez, criminal justice freshman. “But it wasn’t that bad.”
Allan Miller, law enforcement junior, planned the event and said cadets had fun while learning the objectives.
“It’s all about having fun,” said John Lindsay, 2nd Lieutenant and assistant professor of military science. “I get to shoot students.”