Team Video: Operation Deliverance

Operation: Deliverance

The woods outside Bloomfield, Ont., were the scene of a seven-hour gun battle between drug cartels and the police on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.

El Chapo Guzman, Mexico’s top drug lord, escaped custody in 2001 and had been on the run ever since. In Bloomfield, Guzman and his cohorts were trading drugs for weapons in order to fight a war on the government when the police confronted them.

That was the scenario for Operation Deliverance, an airlift game played out at the Rapid Fire Paintball grounds. Despite the bone-chilling wind, about 80 participants came out and divided themselves into police and drug cartel members. Armed with airsoft rifles, they fought each other on 30 acres of forest and field. The teams were given specific objectives by game designer, Curtis Sprissler.

WELLINGTON, Ont. (01/11/14) A lone gunman breaks cover under the blanket of smoke set off by multiple grenades. Since the games take place in an entirely outdoor setting, event organizer Curtis Sprissler, says that the key to winning a match is to utilize the environment. Photo by Mary Barber, Loyalist College

The first objective was for the cartel to find two briefcases of drugs hidden by the police. The second objective was for each side to capture the leader of the other side. By the end of the day, El Chapo Guzman had been recaptured and the police were declared the winners of the game.

Airsoft guns fire plastic BBs. “They are made from a plastic powder, which is compressed together with a glue that is bio-degradable so they eventually disappear. The guns themselves use electric motors,” said Sprissler. “Half of the sport of airsoft is playing with your equipment, fixing up your gun for more accuracy, and that sort of stuff.”

Rapid Fire is located on rented farmland in Prince Edward County, three-quarters of which is wooded. Sprissler has constructed a “downtown” area of plywood buildings for urban warfare. The fields and woods are littered with other structures and decrepit boats so that combatants can take cover and try to ambush each other.

WELLINGTON, Ont. (01/11/14) Bruce Bell (second from left) gestures the field of fire to his fellow policeman. Operation Deliverance, one of the final Rapidfire Airsoft games of the season, pitted local police forces against the Sinoloa Cartel over 30 acres of open farmland in Wellington, Prince Edward County. Rapidfire Airsoft is an niche area of recreational warfare that has been growing in popularity in recent years, in comparison to paint balling, which is much more widespread. Photo by Mary Barber, Loyalist College

Sprissler said that airsoft is played by people of all ages and fitness levels. Most players are men—only one woman participated in Operation Deliverance. Sprissler would like to see more women get involved.

For anyone wanting to play airsoft, Sprissler would advise them not to be intimidated by all the equipment and costumes that people have.

“Just ignore that stuff and go out and have fun. It’s mostly just a friendly thing. Treat it just like any other social event—just go out and have fun.”

Rapid Fire, which is also home to paintball games, is open from when the snow melts in the spring until it is too cold to play anymore—roughly from April to November.

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