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My Coast Guard
Commentary | June 27, 2024

Coast Guard Gaming shines in first international esports tournament

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jasmine Mieszala

Petty Officer 2nd Class Christian “Lights” Rocha, a culinary specialist at Coast Guard Station Freeport, Texas, prepares for a Rocket League match during the Allied Forces Esports Invitational 2024 June 22, 2024 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. This was Coast Guard Gaming’s first international competition. (US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jasmine Mieszala)


Coast Guard Gaming’s Rocket League team took home second place in the Allied Forces Esports Invitational 2024, marking their debut on the international esports stage. Hosted at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, this event brought together military esports teams from three allied nations for an exciting weekend filled with competitive gaming, camaraderie, and cultural exchange.

The AFEI featured teams from the United States, United Kingdom, and France, and was designed to foster teamwork and partnership building among military branches. Esports has gained significant traction in armed forces worldwide, providing a unique platform for service members to showcase their strategic skills and adaptability in a competitive, yet collaborative, environment. This event not only highlighted the growing importance of esports in military culture but also demonstrated how gaming can bridge gaps and strengthen alliances among international military communities.

“This event brought people together from different parts of the world because of a common interest,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Christian Rocha, a culinary specialist at Coast Guard Station Freeport, Texas. “I met friends and made memories that I will remember for the rest of my life because of it.”

With the Coast Guard expanding its recruiting presence in the European Union, this event proved particularly beneficial for establishing recruiting efforts in the region.


Petty Officer 2nd Class Ethan “Echo” Adams, a yeoman at Coast Guard Base Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Petty Officer 2nd Class Christian “Lights” Rocha, a culinary specialist at Coast Guard Station Freeport, Texas, Petty Officer 1st Class Claudio “Zielum” Giugliano, a marine science technician at the Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Reece Womick, an electrician’s mate at Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Moriches, New York, pose for a team photo June 19, 2024 at Nanstein Castle in Landstuhl, Germany. The Coast Guard Gaming team competed in their first international esports competition at Ramstein Air Base in the Allied Forces Esports Invitational 2024, alongside two allied nations. (US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jasmine Mieszala)

“I am extremely impressed by the level of professionalism displayed at the Allied Forces Esports Invitational,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Alan Purcell, an aviation maintenance technician and recruiter stationed at Coast Guard Recruiting Office Europe. “It demonstrates that members can still pursue their hobbies while also securing a stable career.”

Spectators, both in-person and online, were treated to a thrilling display of skill as teams competed in Rocket League, a blend of soccer and vehicular aerobatics. The object of the game is to control rocket-powered cars and hit a ball into your opponent’s net. Coast Guard Gaming quickly made a name for themselves, defeating teams up until the grand finals, where they faced off against the US Air Force.

Purcell said the skills gamers need to compete at this level directly translate to many positions in the Coast Guard - like operating weapon systems remotely from within the ship. Multitasking and making quick, critical decisions in stressful situations is an important skill in the Coast Guard.

Beyond the intense matches, Coast Guard Gaming members bonded with their counterparts from other nations through shared meals, friendly scrimmages, and off-duty activities. These interactions highlighted the universal language of gaming and the shared experiences of military life.

While they did not take home the championship trophy, the team’s participation marked a significant milestone for the Coast Guard and set the stage for future international engagements in esports.

“This was an incredible opportunity, and it gave us the chance to showcase the skill and dedication that define the Coast Guard,” said Rocha.