The real Leroy Jenkins, an 87-year-old Navy veteran who spent time on the USS Kidd during the Korean War, is coming to World of Warships as a playable commander. He shares a name with the popular internet/gaming meme, and developer Wargaming is hoping that this collaboration will help bring more awareness to Naval history.
Jenkins served on the ship during the Korean War as a lookout and an armed guard. After his time in the service, Jenkins was reunited with the ship as a curator for it at the Navy ship museum in Baton Rouge. Now, Jenkins is becoming a playable commander in World of Warships.
“Naturally, a lot of our players are fans of Navy history, but for those players more in tune with internet culture and who associate the name with the meme, hopefully this will inspire them to learn more about Naval history and the real veterans who served like Mr. Jenkins,” World of Warships regional publishing director Artur Plociennik said in a statement.
To unlock Jenkins in World of Warships you’ll need to complete one of two mission chains in the game.
Jenkins previously said in a media interview that he was one of only six black men on the USS Kidd out of 275, and he also spoke about the challenging and violent nature of his position on the ship as a lookout and guard.
“You don’t let nobody come near the boat,” Jenkins said. “These are the same people who will cut your head off–they’re cruel, they’ll kill you just to see you wiggle. I had to get a little nasty sometimes–I’ll leave it at that. I didn’t enjoy hurting anybody … but God knows you didn’t want anybody to hurt you. Once you’re in that situation, it’s no problem–once you know it’s him or you, then you will make it him. You’ll do it in a heartbeat.”
Jenkins is not the first real-world person to come to World of Warships as a playable commander, as NHL superstar Alexander Ovechkin was also added to the game.
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