Is East Wind right for me?
Everyone who is planning on attending Operation East Wind should consider that question seriously before making the commitment.
To help you make an informed decision, we would like to offer some critical information, so that you can decide if East Wind is right for you. The following statements are not exaggerations. They are actual summations of the experience you will have at East Wind. Take these 7 paragraphs to read to heart before considering East Wind further.
Milsim stands for "Military Simulation"
This means that we attempt in every detail to recreate a "military situation" for participants at East Wind. This includes but is not limited to: Simulated combat using Airsoft weapons, living, eating and sleeping (if you're lucky) in the field, respecting the chain of command (this means you take your orders from higher and execute those orders as you would in the military), dealing with the heat, cold, rain and mud that happens in daily life in the field, digging fighting positions (foxholes/bunkers), and yes digging latrines (you have to go potty somewhere while you're in the field).
East Wind is conducted for a solid week
(Although you do not have to come for the whole week to play.) Barring serious injury, the game will run continuously, for 24 hours, around the clock with missions and exercises being carried out the whole time. That means you are on "duty" unless you have been "stood down" by your commander. Fresh troops will be cycling in and out during the whole time. Every effort to get downtime for each participant will be made, but in some instances it will not be possible. Regardless of the situation though, you are expected to do your duty. That means if someone taps your leg in the middle of the night while you're sleeping and tells you its your time for watch, you get up, stand your watch and then you go back to sleep. Its not a choice it's a duty.
You will be in the field
You will be eating, sleeping, walking, running, digging, fighting (airsoft) in the field. This means you will get dirty. This means you will get tired. This means you will get hungry. You will get cold. You'll be moderately uncomfortable. There is no going to McDonald's for lunch. There is no TV. There is no shower in the motel room. There might be someone with a radio playing period music if you're lucky. You will be working, you will be fighting and when you look back on it, you will have had an amazing experience. In the end you will be rewarded with an experience that only you and a few others will have the "honor" of having gone through. You will get to experience on a minute scale, exactly what it is soldiers get to do for real. This will lead to a greater respect for our servicemen. It will also lead to a greater sense of self confidence and accomplishment in yourself after you have done East Wind.
East Wind is not for everyone
We designed it that way. We don't expect to have 500 people at East Wind. We are looking for that 2% of airsoft milsim players who are "into it." If camping in a brightly colored tent and eating hotdogs and burgers under a blue tarp awning in between "games" at the local airsoft/paintball field is "roughing it" for you. Then stay away from East Wind. You will have a miserable time and you will end up leaving the event early. If you've served in the military and didn't get enough, or ever wanted to serve but didn't get to, or you enjoy eating MRE's day after day and marching through the night to get in position for an attack at dawn while surrounded by the enemy and look forward to the challenge for you and your squad to try to make it back "alive." Then congratulations are in order. You're our type of crazy and we look forward to seeing you at East Wind!
We expect something from you
A moderate level of dedication is expected once you have committed to attend East Wind. What does this mean? Well, as a basic "grunt" you will be expected to acquire all the gear that a "grunt" would have. Often this is fairly easy and inexpensive (generally speaking in terms of airsoft). Other times will mean that you pitch in and help whenever you are able. If we ask "Hey does anyone know anything about building bridges?" and you happen to, then step up and give a hand. Whether its building a bridge or designing a bridge, lend your help and we'll all benefit in the end.
Airsoft meets re-enacting
MREs were mentioned above. East Wind is seen as "Airsoft meets Historical Reenacting." That means, that as a NATO troop, you will be eating what NATO troops ate. A combination of MRE's and Hot Rations (when possible). As a Soviet Troop, you can expect the same as a Soviet Trooper would eat. A combination of canned rations and hot rations (when possible). The food is authentic in every way. Menu options in the past have been, canned meat, canned fish, hard "military biscuits". When available (every attempt is made to ensure each troop at least one hot meal a day, hot meal options have included, borscht, vegetable stew, oatmeal, and bread. It is not for everyone. No complaints have ever been heard in the messhalls, but if you are expecting to be dining on pizza and snickers candy bars in the Soviet (or for that matter the NATO) camp, you will be miserably dissappointed.
East Wind is not for everyone
Finally, and probably most importantly: this event is not for everyone. We did not plan it to be. It is a unique experience that you will not get at any other airsoft "game." It is a challenge on all fronts. We've had military veterans experience East Wind and many of them have said that in many ways it faithfully simulates life in a combat deployment. That means you will very likely be out of your comfort zone in many ways during the week. Once you're done though, you'll be able to say you did it and after the cold, mud and sore feet wear off, you'll likely say you had fun.