The Hellions Paintball Team was originally organized in October 2004 by a group of five friends who shared very similar taste in paintball. Each one had pretty much grown up with the notion that paintball was meant to be played crawling through the woods wearing camouflage, not running around inflatable barricades in neon jerseys. They all shared the same goal of building a somewhat professional-looking team that paid a little more attention to details and realism that the standard blue jeans and tiger stripe t-shirt crowd would care for. They were certain that, although it would cost a few more dollars, the difference would be evident the moment they stepped on to the field. Thus, the Hellions were born.

From the start, the team decided to work to establish themselves a niche. It seemed like everyone with a web site was calling themselves Rangers, Delta Force or Navy SEALs. The team reached a consensus; the Hellions would be based on the U.S. Army Special Forces. The first official team uniform–modified woodland BDU’s–were supplied by a family member still serving on active duty in the Green Berets. Team patches and name tapes were added and the five individuals finally started to look and feel like a real team. In their first year, the Hellions hit the road and played in Big Games and scenarios across Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Over the course of the next year, several players transferred out of the Chicago area for work or personal reason. In the end, only two of the original five remained. Lonnie “Grendel” Colson began scouting local fields and online forums for potential recruits. Within a few months, several new members were added to fill in the gaps, and a new core element was formed. There were logistical problems to overcome as well. It became readily apparent that the team would have to find another source for modified BDU’s or change the official uniform. It so happened at the time that the Army was in the middle of transitioning the entire force over to the new digital ACU’s. At first, everyone was skeptical of the whole digital camouflage concept. After decades of the traditional woodlands, it proved a difficult concept to give up on. It only took Grendel one field test to sell the rest of the team on the effectiveness of the ACUPAT in a variety of environments.

As the ranks grew, it became more important to have an established organizational structure. The team consulted with friends and colleagues for more information on Army Special Forces units. The team decided to go with the Operational Detachement-Alpha, or “A-Team”, concept as it gave each player more flexibility to display his individual expertise on the field. Team members chose the specialty that most took advantage of their real-life experience and knowledge base such as military and medical training. Once every player had a role and knew his position, all that was left was for the team to come together and begin to operate in a technically and tactically proficient manner. It didn’t happen over night, but over the rest of that 2006 season the Hellions racked up several notable recognitions such as most valued team, most valued player, sportsmanship and mission completions awards.

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