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USO Provides New Gaming Space at Camp Atterbury

State of the art gaming space nearly doubles USO facility at Camp Atterbury
USO Gaming Center Camp Atterbury
Posted at 9:50 PM, May 23, 2023

EDINBURGH, IN — Inside the USO facility at Camp Atterbury, there’s a buzz around the new e-gaming equipment and space. It’s all thanks to the brand-new gaming center which just opened on Wednesday, May 17th.

The new gaming center nearly doubled the capacity of the USO center, at Camp Atterbury. It includes six new gaming consoles, two new arcade tables, twelve gaming computers, and all of them have several popular titles pre-installed.

Sarika King is responsible for a lot of the set up. “My days go to volunteering and then gaming,” said King.

She’s a big-time gamer. “I love doing it and being part of this project has been just amazing,” Sarika said.

Her role as a USO volunteer is amplified because she’s a military spouse.

Anchor Megan Shinn asked, “So what does the gaming world mean to you?
“Family, absolutely family,” Sarika replied.

Staff Sergeant Travis King is her husband and he’s based at Camp Atterbury with the 157th Infantry Brigade.

“Yes, actually met my wife through gaming, while I was stationed in Europe,” King said.

The two have been married for fourteen and a half years already.

“I said that’s the highlight of my life right there, that’s why it’s important to me” said King.

Now Travis, Sarika, and even their seven-year-old play video games together. Having accessibility to the gaming world goes beyond building relationships and families. To many service members, gaming is a part of this generation’s culture. “Camp Atterbury is truly the e-sports family,” said Sarika.

Sergeant First Class, Joel Perkins is also with the 157th Infantry Brigade. “Yes (I’m)… Big on gaming. It’s a great way to de-stress after a long day at work,” he said.

Army Combat Specialist, Nathan Shane agreed with the others and said, “Oh absolutely. Gaming’s been a big part of my hobbies. Used to play competitively in Fortnite and now competitively in Apex.”

This state-of-the-art space was much needed.

Colonel Michael Grundman is the Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training Center Commander. He explained the military installation has lots of service members year-round. “Our primary function is to mobilize,” he said.

In fact, Camp Atterbury sees over a half million training days per year, with service members from every branch in the military. That means lots of service members are spending time away from their homes, families, and loved ones.

“So, when they’re here facing those next few months down range, away from their families, the ability to connect, the ability to take a step back from a pretty large shift in their day-to-day lives is pretty important,” said Grundman.

With this twenty-five-hundred square foot addition to an already huge USO center, Camp Atterbury joins twenty other gaming centers at USO facilities around the world.

“For more than eighty years the USO has been proud to be the force behind the forces, strengthening our nation’s military by keeping our service members connected to family, home, and country throughout their service to our nation,” said Christopher Schmidt, the Executive Director for the USO’s Midwest region.

Alison Ruble is in charge as the Regional President of the USO’s Midwest Region. “Now you can sit down and play a video game with your son or daughter halfway across the globe and that’s the power of what these gaming centers can do through the USO,” Ruble said.

Ruble emphasized how this new space supports the non-profit’s mission, “We care about what they do. We appreciate them. We’re going to go the extra mile to give them a space that is just for them,” she said.

It’s a space that provides a chance for service members to unplug from the stress and feel like family in a USO home away from home.

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