Just call him The General.
Squamish resident Aaron Bunbury proved his leadership and paintballing skills at the Operation Overlord event on June 23 and 24, helping the Allies team to a victory at one of the premier scenario-game events in the province.
Bunbury and his teammates on the Squamish Rangers paintball team, along with 70 other teammates, managed to stave off the Axis powers and dominated the two-day event. Bunbury was named general of the team earlier this year and from that point on, began recruiting and devising a winning strategy.
“It was very much a surprise for me to be named general,” he said, noting that he’s participated in all five Operation Overlord events. “It was something I always imagined doing but I was really excited when they asked me. It was a big opportunity for me and for us as a team to show what we can do.”
The event is a military simulation with players divided up on Axis or Allies teams. Played outside the community of Greenwood in B.C.’s southern interior, the field is built up of towns and villages similar to what soldiers would have found in the Second World War. Teams have objectives they need to achieve. Bunbury said putting the team together can be a lot of work.
“You have to strategize the battle plan, but the problem is you don’t have finalized players until two weeks before the event,” he said. “The hardest part was just now knowing what players I was going to work with and whether you guys are going to do what you tell them to do. Quite often you get guys who just want to shoot people and don’t care about the outcome of the game.”
The scenario began on June 23 with the Axis powers attacking Bunbury’s Allies, but for the first time in the history of the event, Bunbury’s boys defended the beach from the Axis.
“We successfully held the beach on Saturday which had never been done before,” he said. “In the second phase on Saturday, we pushed them back to the beach again and held them there. We won both phases — defending, which had never been done before so I was pretty happy about that.”
The Allies got the chance to attack on June 24 and wasted little time in securing the victory.
“I was a little worried that on Sunday they’re going to do the same thing to us because there were changes made to the field to make things easier for the defending teams,” he said. “But that wasn’t the case for us. On Sunday we took the beach in under an hour and won the whole thing.”
The Squamish Rangers who helped lead the Allies to victory were Bunbury, Peter Vartanis, Peter Trachsel, Brett Ellis, Dan McDonald, Devin van Hierden, Andy Morris and Jonathan Byerley.
Bunbury, who started the Squamish Paintball Society 10 years ago, said the sport continues to grow and thrive in Squamish and the Rangers are a big part of the local scene.
“We helped put the society together and got it registered as a non-profit society,” he said. “It was an idea to just get things more organized locally. Games can be more organized now instead of just teams playing around the bush.”
He added that the Rangers are a sponsored, semi-professional team that travels across the province. For more information on paintball in Squamish, visit www.freewebs.com/squamish_paintball_club.