Christopher Earl is a proud gamer. If you couldn’t tell by his wardrobe of almost-strictly gaming jerseys, you will quickly find out once you chat with him. Earl kicked off his gaming career when he was six years old while playing Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Las Vegas. Gaming quickly became a hobby of his as he started to dramatically increase his skill level. Soon, Earl was participating in gaming tournaments, winning money, and advancing rapidly in the gaming community.
“It just became an addictive feeling, just getting better at something,” Earl said.
Just as proud as he is as a gamer, Earl always had a childhood dream of serving in the United States Military. Earl eventually fulfilled his ambitions by enlisting in the Marine Corps after high school, but unfortunately, the vigorous schedule of an active-duty Marine did not permit for the extensive training necessary to reach the level of a professional gamer. Earl was forced to put his esports hobby on the back burner, but it was worth it to him.
“I think joining the military is definitely a very important stepping stone in life,” Earl said. “When I joined the Marine Corps, I was just a little silly 17-year-old kid. After boot camp, it definitely changed me. I went in the Marine Corps as a little kid and I came out as a man. It molds you into the person that you want to be. It teaches you a lot of important steps, but the military isn't for everyone; it's the brutal and honest truth. However, I think it was the best thing that I've ever done with my life.”
After finishing his service, Earl discovered that gaming was a great tool to help him ease back into civilian life. He found that many people simply could not relate to nor understand what Earl’s life was like in the Marine Corps. For many veterans, this lack of understanding creates feelings of isolation and depression. Throughout his transition process, gaming was a welcome distraction from these emotions for Earl. Inspired to assist other service members through the challenging process of reentering civilian life, Earl created Regiment Gaming.
While most gaming teams and communities are exclusive — in the sense that they only sign special content creators or incredibly skilled gamers — Regiment’s only requirement is that their members must have served in the military. Earl founded his company with the intention of developing a community where veterans and active duty members can game together, and although virtual, Regiment provides a home for veterans.
Through esports, Regiment Gaming unites veterans in a community focused on camaraderie and support, while also providing them with resources to succeed as civilians. While the largest advantage is making connections with veterans who have gone through the same transitioning process, Regiment also has channels on its Discord with more specific resources. Some of these materials include advice on how to write resumes and learn how to collect veteran benefits.
Since many veterans struggle with PTSD or depression, another one of Regiment’s missions is to prevent veteran suicide. Regiment has many volunteers who work to help with the medical care of its community members, ensuring that there is an equally strong focus on mental health as there is on physical wellbeing. Predominantly, these volunteers work to help veterans take advantage of the benefits (both economic and medical) granted to them by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Regiment Gaming community is driven by a purpose greater than simply winning video game tournaments — they work to ensure that all veterans feel like they have a community where they are truly understood and belong. At Regiment Gaming, it does not matter if you are a professional gamer or an esports rookie. All Earl and his team care about is that every member is a veteran who follows their mission. If you are a member of the Regiment community, then you know that “you are not alone”, Regiment “[has] your six.”
Photo credits: Courtesy of Regiment’s Instagram