Whiteman AFB builds esports program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christina Carter
  • 509th Bomb Wing

Sports are a great way to build friendships, resiliency and confidence. Recently, electronic sports have been gaining popularity and creating new ways to build these traits through online competition.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many base intramural sports have been cancelled or postponed. One Team Whiteman Airman saw the vacuum this created and decided to act.


U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Justin Stinson, 393rd Bomb Squadron flight chief, was one of the Airmen to participate in the Air Force esports tournament hosted by Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and was inspired to create an esports program for Whiteman Air Force Base.


“I got involved to help give Airmen an avenue to stay connected with friends and family and to help boost morale and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stinson. “This pandemic caught us off guard and I worried about the Airmen who were stuck at home or in the dorms with nothing to do and no one to talk to.”


Stinson created an esports committee with seven other Whiteman Airmen and started hosting tournaments.


“We’ve held two tournaments so far playing Call of Duty and League of Legends,” said Stinson. “We offer prizes to the winners, thanks to the First Sergeants Council. They’ve allotted us $250 a quarter to help cover costs, which has been instrumental. We also live stream the tournaments, which gave us about 150 viewers.”


Senior Airman Kyle Johnson, 509th Maintenance Group operations center controller, participated in the tournaments and was excited that Whiteman started an esports program.


“I have always had an interest when it came to electronics, whether it was computer building or video games, so once I heard about an esports group starting up it piqued my interest,” said Johnson. "With everything going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw this as an opportunity to meet new people, create new friendships and help with my mental health.”


There are currently over 42 bases across the Air Force that the Whiteman esports team competes against. Team Whiteman also competes with other military branches and civilian teams.


“In May, Team Whiteman placed first in the Air Force esports Rocket League Inter-base championship hosted by Dyess,” said Stinson. “There were teams from seven different bases participating in that event. On July 25, we also placed first in the Air Force esport’s first ever Inter-Base Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Championship where teams from five different Air Force bases participated.”


Stinson said the team’s strong dynamics and comradery showed during the tournament in which they didn’t lose a single game. Throughout the tournament, viewers from Whiteman showed their support for the team in the live-stream chat.


Esports has proven to be a new way for Airmen to meet people during a time when physical distancing is required.


“I think esports are very important because it boosts comradery, teamwork, resilience, and confidence,” said Stinson. “These are all key in assisting the whole Airman concept. Esports afford the Airmen who don’t like traditional sports an outlet to enjoy what they like.”


If you are interested in joining Whiteman’s esports program, contact Tech. Sgt. Stinson at justin.stinson@us.af.mil.


To follow Team Whiteman’s esports program visit the links below.