A computer gamer converted into a real life solider. 24 years of age, the boy quit his job, sold his car and travelled to Syria to fight ISIS has said his time spent playing ‘Call of Duty’ is to thank for his combat skills.
John Duttenhofer, of Colorado, traveled to Syria last April to fight alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, in Raqqa as they worked to liberate the city from ISIS.
We’ve all spent a few hours on a first-person shooter and thought we’d be pretty nifty on the battlefield ourselves, but it’s another thing entirely too actually go and do it. Duttenhofer indicated he was still every inch the gamer, as he would play Dungeons & Dragons during his downtime in Syria, but it was Call of Duty that prepared him for his mission. The game gave him basic lessons in weaponry and survival skills.
John Duttenhofer says playing first-person shooter games for up to 13 hours a day gave him an understanding of weapons and taught him basic combat skills.
According to the Mail, he sold his car, saved $7,000 (£5,000), got fit by cycling to work and bought combat gear before flying to Iraqi Kurdistan to meet members of the YPG, whom he had contacted online.
In Kurdistan, he met other volunteers from across the world and spent a few weeks at an academy learning basic Kurdish and undergoing weapons training.
Finding himself entering the battlefield with an AK47, Duttenhofer said his experience of playing video games really proved invaluable.
John Duttenhofer said, “Video games prepared me in a way for knowing strategies and how not to get killed, like how to use cover and not to stand in the open.
He also said he was ‘disappointed’ he didn’t end up killing any ISIS members, but he saw his ‘battle buddies’ – including Holmes – fire fatal shots.
‘I had no guilt about it,’ he said of rebel lives being lost. ‘They are a group worse than the Nazis. They want to live the dark ages out again and I didn’t want to live in a world with them.’
Duttenhofer is now back home living with his bookkeeper mom Sherie and delivery driver dad, David, who he said were worried when he told them of his plans to go to Syria. ‘My mom tried to persuade me to stay but she knew that fighting me would just make me go more rushed and unprepared,’ Duttenhofer said of his plans to go to Raqqa.
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