By Joseph Andrew Lee

“We’re playing Call of Duty, with active U.S. troops, in Germany, and we’re playing a World War II game,” said Brian Miggels, communication and brand strategist at Sledgehammer Games. “It doesn’t get any more surreal than this.”

However, for active-duty fans of the popular video game franchise, Call of Duty,, it did get more surreal when YouTube Personality LEGIQN and the makers of the game “Call of Duty: WWII” came walking through the USO.

Dan Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Call of Duty Endowment, dons a protective suit worn by Explosive Ordnance Technicians at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, during the USO tour there in April 2018.
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Dan Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Call of Duty Endowment, dons a protective suit worn by Explosive Ordnance Technicians at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, during the USO tour there in April 2018.

Airmen at Ramstein Air Base play in a local video game tournament on the popular title, "Call of Duty: WWII."
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Airmen at Ramstein Air Base play in a local video game tournament on the popular title, “Call of Duty: WWII.”

YouTube Celebrity LEGIQN plays in a local video game tournament on the popular title, "Call of Duty: WWII" with troops at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
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YouTube Celebrity LEGIQN plays in a local video game tournament on the popular title, “Call of Duty: WWII” with troops at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

A soldier stationed in Kuwait smiles as he connects with his friends during a local video game tournament on the popular title, "Call of Duty: WWII"
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A soldier stationed in Kuwait smiles as he connects with his friends during a local video game tournament on the popular title, “Call of Duty: WWII”

Game designers and gaming reporters stand for colors outside USO Camp Buehring, Kuwait, during the first-ever Activision / Call of Duty Endowment USO tour in April 2018.
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Game designers and gaming reporters stand for colors outside USO Camp Buehring, Kuwait, during the first-ever Activision / Call of Duty Endowment USO tour in April 2018.

“I’ve never met anyone who has ever been part of making a game,” said Army Sgt. Melissa Williams. “So that was really cool to meet the people and to be able to try the new [downloadable content] before I buy it, because often you … just get to watch YouTube videos of other people playing it.”

Service members who came to play the new downloadable content said they play video games like Call of Duty for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason was to bond and communicate with loved ones back home.

“Playing video games for me is a way for me and my friends and my little brother to bond over a shared experience,” said Army 1st Lt. Nathan Hale. “It’s much easier and more natural for us to engage in something actively together than talking on the telephone.”

LEGIQN joined Activision and Sledgehammer Games staffers in a tour through three bases in Germany and Kuwait. The team was so inspired by service members’ excitement for the game and their USO tour that, upon their return, Activision donated an additional $100,000 worth of games to be distributed to service members stationed throughout the world via USO programs.

“Call of Duty is inspired by those who serve,” said Dan Goldenberg, executive director of the Call of Duty Endowment.

“Especially this year’s game. Its creative impetus has been telling stories about those who served in the Greatest Generation and this is the next Greatest Generation, so there’s a deep connection with those who serve and this game, and we love to continue extending it.”