1 v 1 Interview with Jim Rost Fulda Gap NATO General
(DL) — Jim Rost is this year’s Fulda Gap NATO General. I had the pleasure of serving as a Commander under Jim last year and can tell you that he’s one of the best Commanding Officers that I’ve ever played under in around 20 years of playing paintball. Now, I get to go 1 v 1 with him.
While I’ll be flinging paint towards his side this year, I wanted to give you all a chance to get to know him better when you’re looking to play this year. I ran through some questions with him, both on his background and Fulda Gap.
How long have you been playing paintball? How did you get into the sport?
JR: I’ve been playing for 19 years now. I can’t believe it’s been that long! A friend of mine from Elementary School invited me to my first game and loaned me a Brass Eagle Stingray way back in the day. I’ve been hooked ever since.
What team are you playing with now, and where are you all based out of? What kinds of games do you all play, and how would you describe yourself as a player?
JR: I’m the Captain of Rogue Patriots Paintball. We are a scenario team originating out of Northern Virginia but currently have players ranging from Florida to Washington State. The majority of our members are in the Mid-Atlantic region.
As a player… how do I answer that? The past few years I’ve found myself in various command roles but I do get out on the field pretty regularly. In that sense, I’m usually on the opponent’s flank trying to find a way to get up close and personal. I can be an aggressive player and like to jump into fights that folks think can’t be won.
How did you get into scenarios? When did you first start playing them?
JR: It was probably 1998 or 1999 when I played my first scenario game, though, in those days, I was more of a speedball player. I got heavy into scenario ball in 2013 when I got hooked up with Alpha Omega Paintball and started traveling the East Coast for big games. Since then I helped found Rogue Patriots, Magfed NOVA, and have been active and a state commander in Woodsball Alliance.
How did you get into command positions in scenarios? Why did you decide to take on being a General?
JR: My first command spot was at Pasadena Paintball Park in Carbide MD. I kind of fell into it. They needed someone to lead the Blue District at a game, Death Clock and asked me to take it.
My first step into major command roles was at Platoon Leader 2016. I started that game as a team leader, but as the game evolved and peoples strengths became apparent, was appointed squad leader and eventually the acting 1st SGT for the Ranger element. That game led to my first Fulda command role and subsequent promotions within the Fulda Gap NATO ranks.
When did you first play Fulda Gap? How did you find out about it? What brings you back each year? What are your favorite parts of the game, on or off the field?
JR: 2014 was my first year at Fulda, I was with Alpha Omega Paintball back then and our team captain was a unit commander for Warsaw. Since then I have continued to attend, mostly for the comradery. I’ve made a lot of very good friends at Fulda and it’s become somewhat of a yearly reunion. It’s that one game a year that I get to see folks from all around the world that I’ve gotten close to.
My favorite part is, very simply, the pure scale of the weekend. Both on and off the field. Fulda gives me a chance to hang out with, as well as shoot at or shoot with friends of mine from around the globe.
There are different kinds of commanding officers, those who lead out on the field and those that prefer to gather intel from their commanders in the field and direct from a base. Which do you prefer to do? How would you describe your command style? How does being a General for Fulda differ from other scenarios?
JR: I PREFER to command from the field. It really depends though. I do whatever effects the game in my favor the most. As far as command style goes, I like to be organized and have found that exhibiting a strong presence goes a long way. On the field, I tend to get right up front and lead the charge.
That said, in some games, it makes more sense to stay back and play the tactician. 2019 will be my first year as a General at Fulda but I’ve been in the NATO command structure for several years. The biggest difference is the size of the game. Organization and trust of subordinate commanders are key in a game this big.
What do you think makes you a good General? What would you say your strengths are, and how do you help the team as a whole?
JR: Haha! I’m good at yelling? No, in all reality, the reason I have a good track record as a commander is that I surround myself with good people. That’s my biggest strength. I have good people in the right places and let them do their thing.
While I can be a bit of a control freak sometimes, I know when it’s time to step back and trust other people to make a judgment call. I just redirect forces where they’re needed and concern myself with the overarching tactics. At big game’s like Fulda, you can’t affect the play of any individual player. That’s why I’ve made sure to select people I trust to do just that for me.
What do you look for indirect reports/commanders during games? What are you hoping that they can bring to the table?
JR: Keep it quick and concise. Get to the point and, please, don’t hotkey your mic. Field commanders have a lot going on and I want to do everything I can to get them the support they need. That said, I’ve been in a TOC at Fulda and there is a lot going on there too. If you want me to get your support, you need to tell me what you need as efficiently as possible. I don’t need a dissertation.
I need to know who you are, where you are, and what you need. I’ll solve your problem as quickly as available assets allow. Unit commanders for NATO, reach out to me and I’ll give you some templates to make this happen, lol.
If you could speak directly to teams that are looking at going to play Fulda for the first time this year and are not sure which side to join, what would you say to them? Why should they join NATO?
JR: It’s Fulda, this is every kids’ childhood dream. It’s one huge game of king of the hill. You get to spend a weekend shooting at people and not getting into trouble for it. NATO is taking a very different stance on it this year than it has in the past. Win or lose, NATO is going to come out swinging. We are all here to have fun but why not have fun under your own flag?
What advice do you have for players coming to Fulda Gap for the first time?
JR: Hydrate, make sure you have a solid breakfast each day, and most importantly… STAY ON THE FIELD. We play hard during the game and play hard in the campsites at night. Do you’re best to stay with your unit.
If you are tired and need a break, find a bunker on the front line and post up. You don’t have to walk off the field to catch your breath. You can hang out at a bunker and take shots at any opposing players that come into your field of fire. That’s the best of both worlds, one minute you and a brother or sister in paint are hanging out shooting the bull, the next you’re both painting faces and contributing to the game.
If a player wants to learn more about NATO, or advice on which unit to join, how should they go about that for NATO?
JR: Players are welcome to reach out to me directly via Facebook messenger or email at [email protected]
Is there anything that I didn’t ask that you would want to add?
JR: Not really, NATO FTW!
If you decide to go blue, know that you’re in good hands with Jim Rost as your NATO General. He’s a really strong commanding officer and a really good guy. I will say in my experience that he’s very well organized, and does his best to put people in the right places to succeed. In the next article, I’ll be going 1 v. 1 with Archangel Mikel, introducing you to Warsaw’s man in charge.