Swamp Thing – An Interview with G.S.R.’s G01
I had been aware of G.S.R. MilSim (Group Strategic Response) for some time, in part due to their prolific, and quite rightly, well deserved, strong presence on Social Media, specifically Instagram.
Recent connections made with Kable and his group, RED Team, combined with G.S.R.’s hard drive to promote, support and encourage positive Airsoft, MilSim and community attitudes in general really put them on my radar.
When any individual or group for that matter displays such unbridled altruism, not just in their home state, nationally but internationally I felt it only fair to give them a turn in the spotlight.
This time out we sit down with Kratos, G.S.R.’s G01, to get the inside on this hardworking and passionate unit.
GM75: Welcome aboard Jay, been too long in the making, as you’ve been on the radar for some time. I’ve been a long time admirer of your teams prolific presence online, by virtue of how many games, events and all the training you undertake. I’ll jump straight in, so where’d it all start ?
G01: First and foremost on behalf of the team I’d like to give a huge thanks for selecting us to be a included in your blog. We’re deeply honored to be a part of something so proactive in the international MilSim community. It is extremely humbling for us.
Now on to the nitty gritty, for us it all started about four years ago as an Airsoft team, back then MilSim had not yet evolved to the level its at now, it was sort of like a legendary folk tale to me. It had not caught much traction here in the States, though I kept on hearing about it though I never really had any connection to it.
After months of noticing the same common routine of aggravating and frustrating days of lousy games with zombies (laughs) at our local skirmishing venues, we came to the conclusion that Airsofting locally was something we would no longer miss one bit. We needed something else, something that would fulfill us with a sense of accomplishment. Consequently, we decided to locate and participate in our very first MilSim. After a couple days of research I managed to narrow it down to a couple events.
While at these smaller regional MilSim events, we quickly experienced that feeling of “accomplishment” we longed for. We instantly began to make friends with like minded teams and individuals that were drawn to us and our operating style. Slowly but surely we earned our respect due to the hustle and tenacity we bring to the table every single time we put in work. I can honeslty say, its been eyes foward no looking back ever since.
GM75: So, you’ve got a real drive for more themed events, MilSim if you will. What’s the defining point, that for you separates MilSim from regular field skirmishes. I enjoy both, particular as regular ‘walk on days’ allow to polish muscle memory in lieu of regular training …
G01: I enjoy longer, well structured, very complex games with multiple objectives and FRAGOS (Orders) set by a chain of command. Field skirmishes generally do not offer that. Label me a “tactician” if you like, but effectively moving my shooters around like chess pieces to meet objectives gives me my thrills. (Laughs)
Although I must concur when you stated that field skirmishes are necessary from a training standpoint. We ourselves use it as a training tool. My guys and I skirmish at minimum once a week to stay on point and keep our reflexes and muscle memory as sharp as a katana. Reacting to live fire (Plastic Deth) while a dose of adrenaline is flowing through one’s veins is very difficult to replicate during movement training. Paper targets simply do not shoot back. Everything must be in balance. Skirmishing also provides the remedy for that so called “itch” we MilSim addicts suffer from during those time gaps in between events.
GM75: Your team has a pretty distinctive look and feel, I’d argue you are flying the flag for the ‘iconic’ and much loved M81 camouflage pattern. Was this a conscious decision design, or born out of necessity as it works very well in the ‘swampy’ undergrowth of your native state, Florida …
G01: To answer your question accurately, I must say this was a concious decision on my part. I’ve always had an attraction and a special affinity with M81, it just so happens to be pure coincidence that it blends so effectively with our native vegitation. We ran ATACS FG in the beginning days, but during mid 2014, I made the decision against every member on the team to slowly phase out ATACS and start implementing the classic M81. There’s just something about the combination of M81 with Multicam gear that looks so incredibly sexy !
Just to add, we have tan faction capabilities as well. We can show up at a MilSim in M81, then next go around go dripping down in Multicam. Thats what we refer to as the #MulticamNinja look, it means having every piece of gear and accessories Multicam. Having options is a great benefit that allows us to rejuvenate social media with contrast and a bit of diversity. All of us on G.S.R. share the same mutual infatuation for both our green and tan kits.
GM75: So, with your regular training and prolific presence out ‘in the field’, how has such heavy rotation influenced how and why you’ve developed your load out. I’d imagine, you have it pretty much squared away with regards to what works and what doesn’t ?
G01: Pretty much I have learned through out the years , my gear will never really be fully “squared away”. Its always a work in progress, a constant trial and error battle. With new gear andaccessories persistently hitting the market, just means constant updating and add ons, which in turn leads to field testing during training and skirmishes before actually receiving my final approval. I’m extremely finicky when it comes to my gear and loadout. Many times a plan I thought was great, doesnt quite come together as I hoped. As of late, I have been trimming the fat off my loadouts, been focusing more on streamlined direct action based kits. Keep in mind our upcoming mission dictates whether I’ll be donning the heavier assaulters kit or running a high speed low drag set up. My Ferro Concepts FCPC and my Semapo 6094a are the two favorites basically because of the style of cut, they both allow me to shoulder and manipulate my primary very naturally . The FCPC is my direct action kit while the 6094a is my heavier assualters kit. For outdoor field/jungle ops Id ussually run my LBX 1961a style chest rig in ranger green with an assault pack.
Might I add, currently at the moment I own four fully completely assembled kits in Black, Coyote, Ranger Green, and Multicam. Thats four different plate carriers, battle belts, brain buckets. Each set up and arranged in the same identical fashion. Theres no denying I’m a “gearwhore” and I’m damn proud of it! Like a great friend once told me, its all about options.
GM75: We’ve seen in recent years a huge increase in interest overall in the game, attracting exponentially more players than ever before. However, we’ve also seen an increase in less than gentlemanly behavior, detracting from the positive community ethos which has been built over many, many years – if not decades. What would say represents the very best of attitudes in players and behavior vital to grow the sport and allow it to grow and flourish ?
G01: My take on this is as follows, we as a whole really need to stop drawing negative attention to ourselves, its a game of honor. So lets have some! Anyone deciding to pick up an Airsoft gun must remember that although they are 1:1 replicas of their real steel counterparts they are just high end toy guns. As much as we may try to mimick and play the part of real world operators during our war games, we’re all just grown men playing with BB blasters.
The younger players coming into the game need guidance and the more experienced guys should definitely be that guidance. If you witness someone doing something stupid or incorrectly call them out on it, then show them the correct way. We cant expect the young ones coming into the game to teach themselves.
One more thing I’d like to add, getting into arguments, which in some cases have lead to full blown fist fights, has no justification whatsoever, its Airsoft. Toy guns people ! The quicker we all come to terms and realize this, the better it will be for the Airsoft community. Our hobby relies on an honor system, many times there will be dishonest players, theres nothing anyone can do about it. Thats just the way it is. Being the bigger man and walking away is what I would suggest to anyone ever confronted with some sort of heated argument or disagreement.
Here in the U.S. legislators in certain states are pushing the envelope trying to ban Airsoft/MilSim at an alarming rate. With all these “avoidable” incidents that keep occuring its just a matter of time before they succeed. So with that in mind, its very simple, lets all use common sense to avoid giving anymore ammunition to those who want to view Airsoft/MilSim in a negative manner.
GM75: So, as we already march onwards into the new year, what’s in store for the team. Do you have more training scheduled in preparation for any large events you’ve got pinned on the calendar?
GO1: Glad you asked, our training schedule is very routine. We continue training all year round. I would say at minimum we train maybe 45 weeks a year. We really dont have to “schedule” training anymore per say. We all know what day, time and the rally point to meet up at to go through the motions. I have them very disciplined when it comes to training.
The next MilSim we will be going on is Op IronHorse hosted by American MilSim. This takes place on the last weekend of February. The AMS guys do a great job at putting on a great show. This AO (Area of Operation) is amazing, it’s one of the nations premier government disaster training facility’s.
Shortly after that, on the first weeknd of April we have Op Overwatch , This event is a huge milestone in its own right. It will be Florida’s very first national level/sanctioned event, the venue happens to be a decommissioned maximum security prison deep in the middle of the Florida Everglades. We participated in the two Beta tests that were conducted to fine tune all the details for this main event and let me tell you, this is one interesting place to sling plastic at.
Finishing off 2016 strong and with momentum going into 2017 , we will be attending Operations Ironclad 3 and Faded Giant 5. Those two will be later on in the year in September and November. As you can see we try to keep real busy.
GM75: Now I’m aware your not only good friends with RED Team, and Kable, but regular train together and deploy to events, recently both teams saw action at American MilSim’s Faded Giant 4, whereupon you both gave good accounts of yourselves. Let’s rewind and get an after action report on what’s globally known as one of the more prestigious events …
G01: Yes that is correct, Kable and I go back quite some time now. He’s an awesome human being. I gained a loyal brother and a great friend through our mutual passion for MilSim, I can honestly say he played a huge part in the developmental stage of G.S.R. He instilled in us the basics and fundamentals of buddy, squad, and team movement in both Field and CQC environments. To this day we use all his teachings as the foundation and basis of our training. No team can operate effectively without somewhat being familar with the basics.
RED Team and G.S.R. make up part of the Bravo Hard Hitters. Bravo Hard Hitters is an alliance comprised of the four top teams in South Florida. High Risk Operators (HRO) and Special Operations Group (SOG) make up the other half. We are definitely a “force multiplier” for whatever faction we choose to fight with at any MilSim, not just because of the platoon size element we assemble as, but also for the talent and experience that we possess.
The AAR for Faded Giant 4 is as follows, the weather was at suck level both days. First day was was extremely hot and humid , second day was cold and raining. Luckily for us we train in hard and very extreme conditions on a regular basis, it was pretty much another day at the office for us. At any American MilSim event BHH always rolls with the UFS faction (Tan). Throughout the duration of the MilSim we kept a steady pace meeting objectives and completing FRAGOS. We also captured and controlled critical control points. Overall I can proudly say we did a great job. OPFOR will never have an easy day clashing against a platoon of like minded individuals, who consistently joint train together, Bravo Hard Hitters FTW !
GM75: Last but not least, this is a trademark question, real steel ammo counts – something I’m a fan of but has really struggled to take off due to Airsoft’s limited range and accuracy – is there a place for this or do you think it’s not feasible ?
G01: This is something that Ive actually hoped caught some momentum here but never has. I fancy the idea of real steel ammo counts. Airsofts limited range and accuracy has mainly a lot to do with it not being so popular. We run real ammo counts while we train, it puts us at a huge disadvantage but gets us to reload more often under pressure and teaches us patience by being more concious of each shot taken.
Low cap mags bring a whole different level of “tactical” into games , where as just by laying down some cover fire for a buddy to bound foward , will cost you almost a whole mag with a quick reload after reload. Moving around is much easier as well because the air is not so thick with BB’s with people just spraying and praying. All in all, I really hope real ammo count catches more traction and takes off. It would definitely be only for hardcore MilSimmers.
Huge thanks to Kratos, for taking the time out to talk through with us. Find out more about the team and their exploits here – S23
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