PTSD-MILSIM Challenge

 

This is not a charity and donations are not tax deductible.  This is a cause that we believe in! 

What is PTSD and MILSIM/Airsoft?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you have gone through an extreme emotional trauma that involved the threat of injury or death.

Wikipedia defines them as: Airsoft is a sport in which individuals attempt to participate in the simulation of military combat also called MilSim or law enforcement-style combat; and MilSim is an abbreviation of Military Simulation, and refers to military simulations conducted by civilians for entertainment purposes.

Over the past couple of years an added benefit has surfaced from participating in this sport. Military and law enforcement veterans have come forward with stories about how the MILSIM experience is helping with their PTSD symptoms. I have been through the PTSD gauntlet myself, with my wife and with my brother - it's intermittent at best, therapists have no foundation to understand what veterans are talking about and the first course of therapy is drugs. Right now there is little research being done on alternative coping mechanisms - this project will fund that research, increase awareness in a broader audience and hopefully help people understand what is going on within themselves and with others.

This may sound counter intuitive - that combat simulation helps combat veterans - but it works. Ask any veteran what they miss most about their service and they will tell you it's the camaraderie. This sport provides an outlet for their skills, energy and feelings in a familiar controlled environment. MILSIM provides a similar bonding process and bridges the gap between civilian and military experiences. This process creates a supportive and understanding network.

This is not your typical airsoft competition; Operation Blacksheep is the marathon of the sport. Operation Blacksheep is a squad based, 18+, 24 hour, force on force, objective oriented, continuous tactical simulation.

In the military we use the teminology - CRAWL, WALK, RUN. We have observed the positve effects achieved through this experience by those who suffer from PTSD and have the testimonials from military and law enforcement veterans - CRAWL. Your contributions will allow us to move into the WALK and RUN stages of researching, documenting and validating the benefits of the MILSIM experience.

 

Just One of Many Testimonials:

I first started playing Airsoft as something for my son and I to do together. The more and more I played it, the more and more I found it to be very therapeutic. I have gone from the simple spring guns to my favorite WE Tech M4 GBB. I changed to the GBB because it was as close to the real feel as I could get. I converted some of my friends from paintball to Airsoft and they love it. Some of them are veterans too and have also said how much it helps.

Don't get me wrong, I still have issues just like all us of do. This has allowed me to calm that inner calling I still have every day. Two weeks ago would have marked my 20 years. Unfortunately, a shattered ankle ended my career after only four years. It would be a great idea for the VA to sponsor something like this for all of us. I haven't found a form of therapy out there that works as good as this. Even friends of mine who have not served say that I have become a better person since playing and that's been three years now.

Keep up the great work. Hopefully we can get more people into this wonderful sport and expand it. I wish you the best of luck.

 

Short Summary

My wife and I are both retired US Army and PTSD has affected both of us and our
family. There is no greater calling than serving your country. The selfless service to others. The comaraderie. The mission. The responsibility for people's lives and millions of dollars worth of equipment. The recognition and respect while in uniform everywhere you go. The deep sense of purpose in what you are doing. Being at the top of your game!

The military is fairly isolated in our society, with less than 1% of our population serving in military uniform. They - your employer, your family, your friends - don't understand what you did and don't know how or if they should ask you about it. They may even be hesitant to be around you. You are told to minimize your military experience on your resume. Employers can't translate your leadership, tactical and operational experience, skills and knowledge into something they can use. That sense of purpose is lost. "The Hurt Locker" is one of the best portrayals of this inner dilemma.

MILSIM (military simulation) to the rescue! It's not the combat simulation specifically and some may not be ready for that exposure yet - no one wants to relive combat. MILSIM offers the opportunity to put the uniform back on. To teach and lead a team. To share your experience, knowledge and skills with an eager audience. To push yourself and your team to their limits. To feel the camaraderie, teamwork and excitement of mission success. To regain that respect and honor on the field. To have an outlet for your feelings. To have a purpose. Through your efforts in this sport, civilians gain a deep respect for what you have done and understand how difficult it is to be in the military - if only for a moment they can walk in your boots.

I have been involved in this sport for 10 years and producing national level events for 6 years. My goal from the very beginning was to give civilians a taste of combat so they could understand what military folks go through on deployment, the challenges of leading a team through a tactical scenario and the skills required to do it properly. Operation Blacksheep is designed to challenge you on every level – mentally, physically, tactically and spiritually – in as real a combat environment that we can safely produce. Operation Blacksheep is a squad based, 24 hour, 18+, force on force, objective oriented, continuous tactical simulation – it is the marathon of the sport. The life changing stories told by civilians have confirmed that Blacksheep has achieved this goal.

When I talk to the military, they rarely know MILSIM exists or the benefits it provides. I use four key terms when talking to the military about our sport – Recruiting, Retention, MWR support and PTSD. This is a WIN/WIN situation. More veterans will become aware of the sport and those who need it will get some relief. The competition will soar as more military and law enforcement veterans are involved in teaching, coaching and mentoring players on tactics, honor, sportsmanship and safety. The medical community will have a foundation on which to base more effective treatments and understand what veterans are talking about. We are partnering with the medical community to help research, document and validate the positive effects we are seeing. Blacksheep will offer a PTSD Therapist Immersion Training Program so they can gain a glimmer of understanding on what veterans have experienced.

I have found no other sport that provides a level playing field regardless of age, gender or physical ability. It provides participants with physical activity, mental challenges, teamwork, leadership, communication skills, time management and more. For our younger audience, they are learning valuable life skills and exercising more than their thumbs.

1% served 99% - now is your opportunity to put words into action with the 99% serving the 1% who volunteered. Your contribution will allow us to raise PTSD awareness, bring this experience to a larger audience and help many veterans ease the pain. I thank you in advance!

 

Use of Proceeds

Your contribution will allow us to bring this experience to a larger/broader audience and help many veterans ease the pain. This campaign will be used in the following manner:

The benefit comes from participation in the sport of MILSIM, we will continue to produce the best MILSIM events possible.

PTSD awareness program development and research, documentation, and validation of the MILSIM benefits.

Implementation of an immersion training program for PTSD therapists to provide a basic foundation of experience in understanding what veterans are talking about.

Establishment of a separate not-for-profit/non-profit PTSD-MILSIM Challenge foundation. In the future this organization will: raise resources and funds through supporting partners, corporate sponsors and donors to provide support and assistance to those who suffer from PTSD and their families; foster and cultivate a strong peer to peer support base; provide grants and scholarships to individuals in need of additional care or counseling but can not afford it; and provide contributions to organizations who provide assistance and treatment for those with PTSD.

 

Remember Everyone Deployed.

ptsd - milsim challenge tab small

Less than 1% of our population serves in the military.

Wearing red every Friday is a way for the 99% to show the 1% they support them. Wearing red is requested every Friday and supported by many veterans organizations as well as those who wish to show support and understanding to every military member.

The red border around the Blacksheep Patch symbolizes that RED, Remember Everyone Deployed. Wear it proudly to demonstrate your support and understanding of every military member and especially those who face their personal battles with PTSD every day .

RED is a grassroots movement throughout the United States and even into some Allied countries. Support RED, Support PTSD, Support the Military and Blacksheep MILSIM, wear your RED patch with pride.

There is much symbology built into MILSIM already - when you pull out your RED dead rag - reflect for a moment on what you are doing and why. The military folks you are emulating - with the gear, Airsoft replicas, tactics and attitude - don't get a second chance. Remember Everyone Deployed.

meryl red rag

What We Need & What You Get

We are at the CRAWL phase of this work. The PTSD-MILSIM Challenge will allow us to quickly move to the WALK and RUN phases with a solid team and the resources to make a change immediately. The veteran statistics on suicides is unacceptable – 22 a day! The majority of these veterans are under 30 years of age – prime candidates to participate in this sport.

Your contribution will allow us to bring this experience to a larger audience with the equipment and staffing to provide nationwide events. MILSIM is a worldwide emerging sport. Safety is the number one rule at Blacksheep in producing realistic tactical simulations. We employ veterans.

 

The Impact

Very rarely does an opportunity present itself where you can change lives. The Blacksheep PTSD-MILSIM Challenge provides that opportunity.

I know times are tough and every dollar counts. Please consider your contribution carefully. If you can't make a financial contribution, please help us spread the word by telling your friends.

If you ever plan to attend a Blacksheep event, then buy your ticket now and get the RED patch to support this campaign - you can use the ticket anywhere, anytime. If you don't want your free passes to an event - give them as a gift to veteran, donate them to a local team or donate them to the Blacksheep "Bring a Buddy" pass pool and wear the RED patch with pride.

 

John Bucciarelli, Major, Infantry, US Army Retired

MajorJohnBucciarelli3

President, Blacksheep MILSIM

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