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Gamer Fought ISIS For Six Months With Skills He Got From 'CoD'

Gamer Fought ISIS For Six Months With Skills He Got From 'CoD'

John Duttenhofer said he wouldn't have survived if he hadn't played 'Call of Duty' for up to 13 hours a day.

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden

We've all spent a few hours on a first-person shooter and thought we'd be pretty nifty on the battlefield ourselves, but it's another thing entirely to actually go and do it.

That's what's happened to one video gamer who sacked off his job to fly to Syria to fight ISIS, who is now claiming that the reason he survived was all down to what he learned playing Call of Duty.

American gamer John Duttenhofer, from Colorado, travelled to Syria last April to join the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Raqqa, the city which was finally liberated from ISIS in October.

Speaking with the Daily Mail, he explained that playing FPSes for up to thirteen hours a day gave him the basic combat skills and understanding of weapons he needed to survive for six months in the warzone.

John Duttenhofer.

"My mom tried to persuade me to stay but she knew that fighting me would just make me go more rushed and unprepared," Duttenhofer told the Mail about his plans to go to Raqqa.

"On one hand, I selfishly wanted to fight ISIS. On the other I wanted to be a part of something that was historical and groundbreaking. I wasn't scared of dying or anything like that."

Duttenhofer first decided to travel to Syria in 2015 after reading about the horrific crimes committed by members of the so-called Islamic State.

According to the Mail, he sold his car, saved $7,000 (£5,000), got fit by cycling to work and bought combat gear before flying to Iraqi Kurdistan to meet members of the YPG, whom he had contacted online.

In Kurdistan, he met other volunteers from across the world and spent a few weeks at an academy learning basic Kurdish and undergoing weapons training.

Finding himself entering the battlefield with an AK47, Duttenhofer said his experience of playing video games really proved invaluable.

"Video games prepared me in a way for knowing strategies and how not to get killed, like how to use cover and not to stand in the open," he said.

"They weren't something I picked up because I was going out there to fight, but as a kid I played every day after school. I could sit down and put 13 hours in like it was nothing."

Duttenhofer finally returned to the US on 12 February, after spending six months last year in Raqqa alongside a sniper unit of Kurdish soldiers.

Saying he was 'disappointed' he didn't kill any terrorists himself, Duttenhofer said travelling to fight the terrorist organisation was a no-brainer for him.

"I had no guilt about it," Duffenhofer said. "[ISIS] are a group worse than the Nazis. They want to live the dark ages out again and I didn't want to live in a world with them."


Duttenhofer made the decision to leave Syria in October after Raqqa was liberated when his fellow volunteer and 'battle buddy', 24-year-old Jack Holmes from England, was killed in battle.

Duttenhofer spent two weeks in Europe, including attending Holmes' memorial ceremony, before returning home where he is now trying to re-adapt to normal life.

"I feel like I'm still the same person. I'm not the tough guy now or anything. I'm not a changed man, but I would like to think I am wiser for it.

"Before I went I wasn't satisfied with getting up and going to work because the lifestyle in general felt like I wasn't doing anything.

"It is like two worlds and I wanted to get the most out of one by being in it and actually fighting. Now I'm back in this world and I want to live to the fullest and enjoy everything."

For the full story, you can check out the Mail's article here.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Interesting, Call of Duty, Community, ISIS