Infantryman Utilizes Gaming Skills to Fly Drones, Scout Objectives

By Jerod HathawayJune 7, 2021

Montgomery Holds an Unmanned Drone
Army Spc. Cole Montgomery holds a RQ-11 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle during Bayonet Focus, a brigade-wide training exercise, on May 7, 2021 at Yakima Training Center, Wa. (Photo Credit: Army Pvt. Ryan Renya) VIEW ORIGINAL

Army Spc. Cole Montgomery, a U.S. Army Infantryman serving with 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry, 7th Infantry Division, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord works hard to maintain readiness for future deployments. However, he also trains to compete on a different battlefield, the virtual one.

When Montgomery isn’t in the field, executing battle drills, or learning how to fly a drone, a secondary duty he’s been entrusted with, you can find him playing Rainbow Six Siege, a competitive, online multiplayer first-person shooter he competes in alongside other Soldiers.

“I’ve played Rainbow Six for a little over four years now. I’ve got well over 4,000 hours in the game,” Montgomery said.

He picked up the game after a friend made the recommendation to him. His first few tries at the game granted him no success. The strategic nature of the game and skill floor for being successful were initially off putting, he said.

However, a family member took him under his wing and taught him the game mechanics. Once Montgomery figured it out, he was hooked. He slowed his game play down and learned to think through situations.

Soldier Gamer
Army Spc. Cole Montgomery participates in a video game tournament inside his barracks room on February 11, 2021 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa. (Photo Credit: Army Sgt. Jerod Hathaway) VIEW ORIGINAL

He now practices three to four hours a day as a member of the U.S. Army Esports Rainbow Six Team.

For four months every day, Montgomery came home from work, practiced and watched videos of professional play and professional matches. He showed up to a tryout and made the team his first attempt.

His passion for gaming is what got him selected to be a drone operator for his unit, he said.

“It feels kind of like a video game,” said Montgomery, who also utilizes his infantry background when scouting objectives with his RQ-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. “I try and look for the things I know an infantry squad wants to know about, like avenues of approach, to help people plan their missions.”

Montgomery also operates other unmanned vehicles, such as the Black Hornet Nano, an incredibly small, lightweight drone that fits in the palm of your hand.

He hopes to continue to augment his unit’s combat capabilities with modernized forms of reconnaissance while also pursuing his passion for competitive gaming as a member of the US Army Esports Team.