Most troops kill time by playing video games. And of course, they like the games that paint their branch in the best light...but it can be a little bit of an exaggeration.
Video games always feature the exciting parts of military service. No one wants to play a game about tedium — it just wouldn't make a good game. Think how fast people would uninstall a game if 90% of the time they're either cleaning, performing maintenance, or attending power point presentations about how to properly do adult things.
So here's a round-up of some truth vs. fiction when it comes to video games and the military:
Airmen think they're Ace Combat
Who doesn't love a good combat flight simulator?
In real life, only 0.03% of the Air Force is actually a pilot. So the other 99.97% of the Air Force is more like the little kid who gets to watch their older sibling play.
Most of the Air Force is basically just watching their pilots on Twitch.
Soldiers think they're Call of Duty
There's also a romanticized version of history that younger generations overlook.
"The Greatest Generation" is honored by the notion that all World War II Army veterans were noble pillars of virtue who killed Nazis (though to be fair, the group as a whole took out the Nazis).
But across the board, World War II soldiers embraced the same suck as the rest of us — just in a different decade. Swing by a VFW or an American Legion, buy one of the old timers a beer, and swap war stories. You'll learn that they drank just as heavily as us, chased as much "tail" as us, and did just as much dumb crap as us.
They just did it while killing Nazis.
And man were our boys good at killing Nazi scum.
Sailors think they're World of Warships
Just like the Air Force and their planes, a very small number of sailors actually get to stand at the helm.
This game brings naval warfare to life!
Sort of. There's a big difference between the amount of time it takes to control video game ships versus real ships. Nothing is as instantaneous as using a controller. In the real world, you've got to send a message to this guy, who then tells another guy to tell a guy to do a thing...you get the point.
Marines think they're Battlefield 3
Video games skip over crappy details and just put you straight into the action. Everything is the "cool sh*t" every Marines actually want to do.
Thankfully there's a good work around the Lance Cpl. Underground figured out. By the very nature of a game, things can only get done when you reach a certain objective. Things get paused or stand still when the player doesn't do anything.
Nothing is ever mentioned about how easy it is to slide out of bullsh*t. The real world, however, keeps on spinning, whether you skate out of sweeping the motor pool or not.
Lance Corporals basically live Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3
Coast Guardsmen think they're part Cold Fear part Coast Guard
The average Coastie isn't solving murder mysteries or fighting Russian mercenaries or zombies. They wish they were, though.
Then again, if the Canoe Club was actually this cool, everyone would be a puddle pirate.