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If you are searching for signs of the apocalypse, here’s a good one for you.

The Army is recruiting for soldiers with stout thumbs and a love of games to join its video game team. Not a joke: They want PlayStation wizards and Xbox heroes to travel the land to show off their skills.

Anyone with a teenage boy in the house has likely been exposed to the new craze, called esports, that pits top video gamers in competitions easily viewed on YouTube.

The Army team will be based at Fort Knox, Ky., where it will fall under Recruiting Command. The service hopes it will convince some of those teenagers to enlist.

“Members of the eSports outreach teams are not recruiters,” Recruiting Command says on its website. “They will be in a support role to help young people see soldiers in a different light and understand the many different roles people can have in the Army.They will help the Army address the growing disconnect with society.”

Troops picked from an avalanche of thousands of applicants will spend two years of their Army careers playing video games for a living.

“Soldiers selected to the team will be assigned to the Marketing and Engagement Brigade at Fort Knox for three years and will involve constant competitive training, recruiting engagements and interaction with the public on a daily basis,” Recruiting Command said.

If you want in, or want proof that the world has ended, visit https://recruiting.army.mil/army_esports/.

Speaking of video games, airmen at Buckley and Schriever Air Force Bases just wrapped one up that has more real-world applications than Fortnite. (If you are over 45, ask a kid about the really cool Fortnite reference.)

Space Flag is Air Force Space Command’s version of the Red Flag exercises that test fighter pilots. It pits the Colorado space airmen against counterparts in aggressor squadrons who devise threats to American satellites and launch mock attacks.

It is a video game of sorts, since both sides fight their battles over a computer network.

“The goal of the exercise is to enable forces to achieve and maintain space superiority in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment,” Space Command said on its website.

The training offered in Space Flag was virtually nonexistent after the Cold War, when leaders saw threats from adversaries including Russia as far-fetched. But since 2007, when China ran a full test of an anti-satellite weapon to destroy one of its malfunctioning spacecraft, leaders have expressed growing alarm at the prospect of war in orbit.

The National Space Defense Center in Colorado Springs was formed in 2015 to build strategies to defend American satellites. Now, as part of Space Command boss Gen. Jay Raymond’s push for better training, airmen at Schriever and Buckley, who control the nation’s military satellites, are drilling for war above the atmosphere on a regular basis.

“During calendar year 2017 and 2018, Space Flag occurred twice a year,” Space Command said. “During fiscal year 2019, Space Flag will increase to three times a year.”

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

Senior Military Editor

Tom Roeder is the Gazette's senior military editor. In Colorado Springs since 2003, Tom covers seven military installations in Colorado, including five in the Pikes Peak region. His main job, though, is being dad to two great kids.

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