Don’t count your kills, count great experiences.
When the TF EXO Specialists series was conceived, I didn’t plan with the guys to cover HHK. The spotlight was well and truly on TF EXO’s other elements.
However, as the series evolved and the feedback came flooding in from the blog’s readership, it became apparent that appetites would not be truly satisfied without shining the same light on all of TF EXO’s components.
There was only one man to ask for this addendum to the series – Ola – HHK’s H87.
Hey Ola! Welcome back to the blog! How did HHK start out?
It started when H47 and I (H87) started playing with H12. We attended the massive event Berget as a sniper team but, for some reason, we had an extra ticket. We invited H25 along, since we had played together before.
It was all about green Crye back then, but when I later bought my CPC the others started to switch over to multicam as well. After that, it just became more and more serious and we kept picking up new members!
We always wanted quality before quantity though and everyone we invite to the team has also become part of our close-knit group of friends.
How did the link up with other TF EXO teams evolve?
I was talking with Audvin from Arquebus about how everybody calls themselves “Task Force X” but their structure and roles don’t represent an actual Task Force. Tasgeir also entered the talks and soon after Hermes was born; and then TF EXO became a thing.
What role does HHK play in TF EXO?
HHK is primarily the assault element in TF EXO. The other guys are obviously also added into the mix, but as it stands, HHK has the most members, and is therefore able to sacrifice players en masse to get the objective done; especially when Hermes is directly behind us to patch us up.
Have no doubt about it: even though we practice a lot together and work pretty fluently, we are not invincible. However, there’s always more men coming after the guy you just shot – the heads of the Hydra and all that jazz.
How do you personally contribute to HHK and TF EXO?
This is a hard one.
You could say one of my main tasks in the groups is as a facilitator or coordinator. I don’t necessarily do it all by myself, but I often work as the link between teams, letting the guys on the different teams know what the other teams are up to, organizing our attendance at events, posting about how we want to conduct ourselves in different scenarios, etc.
In HHK, we used to have a hierarchy with a couple of guys at the top, making decisions. There’s always someone more interested in gear than others, so the ones that care about the gear might have to tell the others what to buy, what they can and can’t buy, and such.
However, HHK, as well as EXO, is starting to run itself pretty autonomously now! The individual members are starting to get an understanding of what the others want and need, and many of our newer members have shown a willingness to both research, learn and teach – which we all benefit from. The teams are in turn evolving and developing themselves to better suit the needs of the entire Task Force, and it’s not often that we have to use the ol’ hierarchy any more 🙂
Still, a large team or Task Force is like a living organism and, occasionally, someone needs to push people around a little; tell them what to buy or what to learn, and that’s where the Elders Council comes in.
The team leaders of each team talk to each other about news, changes, and occurrences in their respective teams, and discuss where we want to be in the future, or which games we want to attend.
It’s also important to both me and the other team leaders that everybody is heard, and everybody gets their say. We’re not dictators. We want our teams to work democratically.
Inclusivity and humbleness are words which are often used to describe HHK. How do you ensure the team stays committed to those qualities?
We talk openly about it. There has been a bunch of “elite” teams in Norway over the years, and the common denominator is that there’s been a wake of bad moods, whispers, rumours and talk of cheating, holier than thou-acts, exclusion and slander.
Much of it is obviously not true, but parts of it might be. Once we passed four members, made our Facebook-page and wanted to invest in the kits, we knew that we were marked men, and had to play it extra carefully.
We’ve always encouraged others to play with us, regardless of gear. It doesn’t really matter how you dress, as long as we treat each other with respect.
We love hanging out with new people and we never belittle anybody, just because they haven’t played the game as long as us. We might offer advice on how to adjust your vest so it rides more comfortably, but we hope you don’t see it as elitism 🙂
When we’re not actively engaging the enemy, we’re pretty chill guys. We make jokes, laugh a lot, and do stupid stuff, and we hope that people sense that atmosphere around us, and not the serious stuff we do in-game.
We also don’t play to win the game, so there’s no shame in taking our hits. That’s something that’s very important to us, that nobody can have any excuse to tell their friends that “HHK don’t call their hits!” We’ll always take one hit too many, than one too few. This is especially important since you might shoot one of our guys, and he falls into a foxhole. Then someone who looks exactly like him pops up and shoots at you! You shoot that guy as well, but a third guy pops up! Now, those three guys look a lot like each other, and from a distance, you might think they’re the same guy!
That’s why it’s especially important to us that people KNOW we call our hits, so they instantly understand that they must be shooting at different guys. It’s actually a real big issue when we look so alike.
And after all that, it doesn’t matter who wins – we’re all losers anyway 😉
With those qualities in mind, how do you switch the team to violence of action when required?
I think it’s all about attitude.
Each of us wants to play airsoft “the hard way”, with comms and commands and tactics and stuff, but we also want it to be fun. So while we’re casually walking through the forest, we might not be the most serious guys around, but once we get closer to expected resistance, the guys just flick the switch, and everyone goes completely silent. It’s pretty magical.
It also helps that Sky One is a few hundred meters ahead telling us everything that’s happening 😉
In civilian life, you’re an educator. Do you find some of your professional skills transfer to Airsoft?
Definitely – Airsofters are like 6 year-olds 🙂
There’s bickering and complaining and disagreements; fires to be extinguished and food they don’t want to eat. It’s my job to get them to agree and become friends again. Also, like kids, when it’s fun it’s hilarious! I’m having the time of my life with these guys! Each and every one brings something unique to the table, and the team wouldn’t be the same without any of them!
Have you ever had to give someone the push from the team? How did that go?
The only time we’ve removed someone from the team was when one of our guys moved back to Sweden due to work-issues. There was no bad blood or anything, and we still play with him whenever we get the chance. I think he plays pretty regularly with the guys in Task Force Green now.
Is there any specialist training involved with HHK’s role in TF EXO?
We definitely practice a lot. We’re lucky enough to have access to a couple buildings well suited for CQB-drills, and we regularly practice moving through buildings and clearing rooms. We also work a lot on our fire-and-movement-drills, as they’re one of the main things you want to be good at when you’re encountering an enemy in the woods. Besides that, we try to work a bit on rappelling (abseiling) and climbing, as you never know when they’ll come in handy; as well as a lot of practice in how to talk on comms, which is one of the most important aspects of playing together as a team.
Everyone wants to be an assaulter, but what aptitudes are essential?
Well, a bit of fearlessness and stupidity is probably not a bad start. Rushing head first into rooms without wearing face masks is a horrible experience. However, superior tactics and confidence in your team is a great boost, especially when you find that “flow”.
Another great skill is in recruiting team members. A bunch of guys does a heck of a lot better than a single “soldier”.
How does HHK’s role change at more casual skirmishes?
At casual Sunday games, we might relax.
If we attend in multicam, the standards are relaxed, and people may opt to use a cap instead of a helmet, or chest rigs instead of CPCs. However, we use the Sunday games to spice things up, and go as Russians, or snipers, or maybe we’ll use random civilian clothes.
After five years of CAG-kits, you’re bound to be a bit sick of it, and the only cure is to do other stuff on casual games 😉
We’re even more relaxed when it comes to jokes and chatter in the forest, and we might not take everything so seriously. When the shit hits the fan though, it’s business as usual, and we’ll try our best to emerge victorious.
What guides HHK’s load out?
The team itself.
We’re obviously inspired by CAG, and at some point it was strictly impressions, but we’re getting more relaxed about it, and do certain things that work for us. It’s a balance between picture perfect and functional. We want to be easily distinguishable as CAG, and that’s the most important part. It may not be a 100% impression for all of us, but a lot of us still go the extra mile.
But however relaxed the standards get, if CAG isn’t seen with something that looks even remotely like what you want to buy, you’re not buying it 😉
Does HHK standardise on an airsoft weapon platform?
Oh yes, definitely!
We all use the Tokyo Marui NGRS 416, and it’s one of the things that definitely won’t change! The sounds, range, and tactile feedback they give us makes it one of the best purchase decisions we’ve made as a team!
Is there any consensus on what is the most useful kit you carry as individuals?
I think we all agree on grenades. They’ve changed the way we play CQB.
“How many grenades do you have”, you say?
More than you.
Way more 🙂
A hallmark of HHK and TF EXO’s online presence is high quality pics. How do you ensure standards remain so high?
We always say that it’s better to have a few good photos than a lot of mediocre ones.
We always try to pose for a good team photo at every event we attend. They’re great mementos and are something we like to look back on.
The professional pics Roar from Berserkir takes of us always end up to be real stunners and we are really lucky and grateful that he does that for us. We always try to make sure we credit him for his work, which is exceptional – it has to be said.
So yeah, a few excellent photos is way better than a bunch of crappy ones.
We also have a lot of more candid photos, which are only shared between TF EXO’s teams.
We’ve also worked with the guys from Blur Media, who we’ve known for many, many years, and they’ve been kind enough to deliver some outstanding videos for us, which we’re really proud of and want everybody to see!
I really enjoyed EXFIL:
What’s the story behind your non-linear call sign system?
Haha! You’re opening a can of worms here 🙂
Many moons ago, two of the three original members who later formed HHK had, along with another guy, made some dope ass black kits, with ballistic masks and everything. Just for fun.
Then someone asked us if it was an impression, and without hesitation, H47 blurts out “Yeah, they’re based on Miley Cyrus’ upcoming movie, “Miley Cyrus’ Hundred Man Killsquad”, it’s a modern day ninja movie!”
Then we drew numbers on our ballistic masks, and tried to convince as many people as possible that it was a real thing.
I was not expecting that 🙂
Lastly, what makes a good realsim event?
Rules and attitude.
Rules that make things more interesting and realistic.
Rules that makes you fear for your life, because respawns are long and unavailable, and the medic will take a loooong time getting you back up.
You also need to go in with the attitude of making the game cool for the other guys.
I try my best to make the OpFor have a great experience, and I hope they do the same in return.
I don’t do unrealistic things that would get me killed in real life. I don’t take cover behind a bush, I find a solid tree. I don’t do kneeslides and running dives to get a kill, while simultaneously dying myself.
I try my best to stay alive, which I think everyone should be doing.
Don’t count your kills, count great experiences.
BOOM! Massive, massive thanks to Ola for his time and patience on this one. Not only did he help facilitate the entire TF EXO Specialists series, he promptly answered calls from readers of the blog for a further instalment which focused on HHK.
What he has delivered is beyond expectations and I’m extremely grateful 🙂
Photo credits: HHK and Roar Stene.