The post 911 business climate was less than ideal for those involved in the tourism sector. The influential conveniently created a lucrative fear industry and kept all from venturing into fun projects and fun events which included leisure travel.
Just when it seemed that the global economy was brought down to its knees in favor of the fear industry, a new business concept from Asia was blooming; it was Airsoft.
During a casual luncheon between Mr. James Tai (formerly Airsoft Elite), Mr. John Lu (Founder of OLCMSS) and Mr. Walter Chang (Founder of Airsoft GI) an idea of having retired US military heroes to lead Airsofters in Airsoft Combat was suggested. "James, that's so stupid, I'm not going ask retired American military heroes to play soldier!" Lu thought the concept was idiotic.
"Oh, yeah? You have nothing going on right now, so just keep an open mind!" Mr. Tai had a valid point.
"So what should we called it?" Young Walter questioned?
The hit movie "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" had just hit the theaters, and with a racial undertone, Mr. Lu suggested "Lion Claw" and "Tiger Paw" to which all laughed. Puzzled, young Walter mentioned that the lion had more than one 'claw' hence shouldn't it be 'Lion Claws'? With that, the longest running Airsoft event in North America was born.
Young Walter would later overcome layers of personal adversity in life to create one of the most prominent Airsoft retail stores in the country, Airsoft GI. With modest beginnings, Airsoft GI management worked tirelessly with UPS logistics in creating its online shopping/shipping network and gradually branched out to GI Tactical Virginia and GI Tactical Texas, servicing Airsoft enthusiasts from coast to coast.
While Airsoft GI grew to become a retail giant and its founder, Mr. Walter Chang and company, began to enjoy the financial fruit of their labor, Airsoft GI never forgot its first allied in Airsoft, the oldest brand in the American Airsoft MilSim, Operation Lion Claws.
For more than ten years Airsoft GI consistently sponsored OLCMSS events including the famed 2015 Lion Claws Tactical Challenge at Mojave Airport. The tactical alliance of a financial sponsors and a proactive event producer further solidified the friendship between the two founding pioneers.
To outsiders Airsoft GI seemed to be rooted in money, but the facts would revealed countless hours of studies in logistics, product research, marketing, and strategic alliances, all were critical components of any successful business. Over the years OLCMSS absorbed suggestions from its partner, Airsoft GI, by brushing up on social media with the goal to reach out to a modern audience.
When asked why Airsoft GI bothered to support Operation Lion Claws since its own marketing outreach exceeded that of OLCMSS Mr. Chang simply put it: Lion Claws give players hope; the hope to be able to fight with American heroes such as Ranger Col.(RET) McKnight from Black Hawk Down, Ranger Hall of Fame 2013 inductee MSG(RET) Mullen, and real life US Army Delta Force Command Sergeant Major(RET) Collazos. In short, Operation Lion Claws gives players hope to be a part of something great. Airsoft is a miniscule industry, smaller than paintball, smaller than action figures when action figure industry was around.