Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare partnered with Medal of Honor recipient Florent 'Flo' Groberg to bring players a new in-game kit based on the same one he wore while deployed to Afghanistan:
The Fearless Pack can be bought through the in-game store for $9.99 and comes with the Venerated Mil-Sim Operator skin, a new M4 rifle blueprint, a universal camo, and a few other odds and ends like calling cards, an orange boonie cover charm, and a watch.
All proceeds from the pack will go toward the Call of Duty Endowment, a veterans nonprofit supported by Activision Blizzard which aims to get 100,000 veterans jobs by 2024. To date, the endowment has helped some 69,000 vets find employment.
As part of the fund-raising promotion, there's also a $32 black t-shirt with the Call of Duty Endowment logo and topographic paint scheme by Graph that's available for purchase online.
The in-game kit was created with Groberg's direct input and should be immediately recognizable to veterans of the war in Afghanistan, down to the shades, gloves, and the shemagh around the character's neck.
"Every day our developers go in, they are inspired by the real-life service of folks, but at the end of the day it's entertainment — it's a game — but what inspires it is the real valor of those who serve," Dan Goldenberg, a retired Navy captain and the executive Director at Call of Duty Endowment, told Task & Purpose.
In addition to the avatar, the Fearless Pack comes with "For The Cause" a red, white, and blue M4 with five attachments: the Scout Combat Optic; Corvus Custom Marksman Barrel; the FORGE TAC SQS Stock; Tac Laser; and the Stippled Grip Tape.
The weapon loadout, like everything in the pack, was designed with heavy input from Groberg, down to the PMAGs and the scope's design.
"We decided, why don't we create a pack and base it off my deployment in Afghanistan, and from there we can do something really cool together," Groberg told Task & Purpose.
Additionally, the rifle is engraved with a date that carries particular weight and meaning for Groberg: Aug. 8, 2012, the day of the actions that earned him the Medal of Honor.
On that day in Afghanistan's Kunar province, Groberg — then a captain with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division — was leading his security detachment on a dismounted patrol with senior military leaders and partner forces.
As they neared the provincial governor's compound, Groberg noticed a man moving toward their patrol, and that's when he saw the bulge underneath the man's clothes: It was a suicide vest.
Groberg made a split-second decision and rushed the man, pushing him away from the patrol, and throwing him to the ground. That’s when the vest detonated, tearing into Groberg's leg, and leaving wounds that would require more than 30 surgeries.
The explosion caused a second suicide bomber, who was hidden behind a small structure near the road, to detonate his vest. Ultimately, four Americans were killed in the attack: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, and Ragaei Abdelfattah, a foreign service officer with United States Agency for International Development.
For his heroism, Groberg was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor. But for him, that date carries a different meaning: It's the day four of his brothers gave their lives.
"I said, you know what, we're telling the story in the trailer of the guys," Groberg told Task & Purpose, referring to a promo video that launched alongside the pack. "We're bringing up their names, their pictures, so we put the date on the weapon system because it's something that's going to be forever implemented in the game. I know Griffin's son plays the game, so I hope that'll be something really cool for him."
This marks the second time that Call of Duty has modeled in-game characters and equipment off of a real-life military veteran. As Task & Purpose previously reported, back in April, the game's developer, Infinity Ward, unveiled Ronin, a new avatar who is based on Tu Lam, a martial artist, businessman, and former Green Beret.
"To me, it was just a really cool way to get involved with a big franchise, where I play, you play, a lot of our friends play, and it brings a little more awareness to the fact that behind this game there are real people who do this for a living," Groberg told Task & Purpose. "And here's a story of four guys who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us."