ASHBURN – Members of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry (Old Guard) were playing a little Call of Duty in the line of duty with the Washington Redskins at their practice facility in Ashburn on Nov. 8. The Redskins hosted 50 active-duty soldiers from the Old Guard for a live video game competition between troops and Redskins here and troops stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The event was put together by Pro VS GI Joe, a non-profit organization that partners with the USO to host video game competitions all around the country.
“We pay professional athletes and they play against the troops overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, all over the place,” said co-founder Greg Zinone. “They just play video games and it’s incredible and then we bring guys in person, family members of the troops overseas and it’s just a great event.”
Zinone started Pro VS GI Joe five years ago with his wife Addie who got the idea while serving in the Army Reserves. “[Addie] told me that when she was over there the guys are playing video games, that’s all they do on their down time. I had no idea they even had down time over there,” joked Zinone.
Sgt. John McDermott, who grew up in Calvert County and served in Afghanistan before being transferred to the Old Guard said the video game challenge was a nice change of pace. “It’s a good break from the tasks that we’re usually assigned to do. We appreciate them having us here and letting the guys play Call of Duty. “
Redskins players were equally appreciative to host the Old Guard soldiers. “The things they do for us, they make it able for us to just relax and go out there and play football,” said defensive end Stephen Bowen. “They’ve got the hard job, football’s easy compared to what they do.”