Call of Duty likely inspired tons of young men to join the military. Sure, it’s a video game that is nowhere near as realistic as real life, but it certainly made an impression. I didn’t know a single grunt who didn’t play Call of Duty when I hit the fleet. Call of Duty has evolved and expanded, and the last few games and their multiplayer modes have introduced Operators.
These operators serve as player avatars and are quite varied. The head shed behind Call of Duty created several operators inspired by real veterans. Today we are showing you the real veterans behind the Call of Duty operators.
Rudy Reyes as Reyes
Reyes is a new addition to the Operator selection, and he is unlocked in Modern Warfare 2 by completing a portion of the campaign. Reyes might wear a Canadian flag, but he is very clearly based on Rudy Reyes, a United States Recon Marine made famous by the book and HBO Series Generation Kill.
Rudy Reyes served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and participated in the 2003 invasion. Since departing the Marine Corps, he’s become an actor, personal trainer, author, and motivational speaker. I’ve met Mr. Reyes a few times, and he’s always been an absolutely awesome guy to boot. (I currently use him as my skin in MW2 multiplayer.)
Related: Is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2’s singleplayer any good? A Marine reviews it
Tony Sentmanat as Lurch
If you need an intimidating figure to front your character, then you’ve likely chosen Lurch as your Call of Duty operator. He certainly looks like he belongs in an action film. The man Lurch is based on, Tony Sentmanat has lived an action film.
Sentmanat served in the United States Marine Corps and then became a SWAT Operator. In total, he has 18 years of experience being an actual operator. Not to mention being an MMA practitioner, combative instructor, and firearm instructor. Sentmanat is not a man to be trifled with, and his intimidating look is backed by years of actual experience.
Christian Craighead as Otter
If you didn’t know any better, the Operator Otter and his Safeguard skin would just look weird. A purple shirt, a balaclava, jeans, and a multi-cam plate carrier just seem silly. If you did know better, you’d know that Otter is based on Christian Craighead, the SAS Operative who famously charged into a hotel that had been sieged by terrorists.
He killed two terrorists and saved countless lives. He who dares wins, and Craighead has since retired from the SAS. Prior to becoming Obi-Wan Nairobi, he was already an accomplished SAS operator. These days he seems to be enjoying retirement.
Related: Breaking down the Nairobi rifle of SAS Christian Craighead
Emil Daubon – D-Day
Emil Daubon spent over 17 years as a Green Beret, specifically a Special Forces medical sergeant. He seems humble about his service, but he undoubtedly deployed many, many times to some rather not-so-nice environments. One look at the character D-Day makes it very clear that the operator is based on Emil.
It’s fitting. Since leaving the Army, Emil has become a trained actor and writer. He helped write the Ghost Recon Breakpoint video game. The military-themed shooter most certainly took advantage of his experience as a soldier to craft a realistic narrative.
Related: Why Billy Waugh will always be cooler than you
Andy Arrabito – Talon
The Operator Talon wears a very distinctive style of face paint that covers the top half of his face and makes him a ringer for Navy SEAL Andy Arrabito. There is a somewhat famous photo of Arrabito wearing the same style of face paint, and it’s clearly the inspiration for the character.
Andy Arrabito spent 10 years as a Navy SEAL with both Team 5 and Team 1. He deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Southeast Asia. Since leaving the Navy, he founded the custom knife company Half Face blades. There he makes some seriously beautiful knives and tomahawks. I own one of his chef knives and love it so much that no one else is allowed to use it.
Related: Ye olde tomahawk – From the Revolution to the GWOT
John McAleese – Captain Price
Captain Price is a legendary member of the Call of Duty world who has been around since the games were still set in World War II. The modern incarnations of the man and his operator profile are based on a legendary British SAS operative named John McAleese. This legend participated in the 1980 Siege of the Iranian embassy in London and fought in the Falklands War and in the Irish Troubles.
McAleese also served as a bodyguard for three prime ministers and members of six Royal families. After leaving the SAS, he served as a consultant and private military operator and co-founded a tactical training group called the NNK Group. He passed away in 2011 in his sleep.
The best way to make your operators appear realistic in a video game is to use actual operators as your inspiration. While most of the operators in Call of Duty are ultimately fictional characters, it’s nice to see the veteran community get a little recognition by serving as the inspiration for those characters. Maybe, just maybe, the real operators will inspire the next generation.
Did I miss any real-life operators? I might, and if I have, please share your entry in the comments below!
Feature Image courtesy of Activision
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