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Why Soldiers Wear Call of Duty -style Masks

Now that Call of Duty: Ghosts is an official thing —and since the only detail we're being given is something to do with masks, I think—it's an interesting time to look back on what the famous and one-time-infamous Call of Duty skull mask even is.

You might not remember the event that tried to place infamy on the balaclava that Lieutenant Ghost (ahem, ahem) wears in Call of Duty . Luke wrote about it back in January, back before Call of Duty: Ghosts was a thing. But the interesting part here isn't the outrage that followed the erroneous assumption that real-life soldiers were wearing masks based on a video game. The interesting part is what the mask is all about.

An excerpt from Luke's piece:

...skull masks (or balaclavas, which is actually what Ghost is wearing) are incredibly common in armed forces across the world, especially the US. American soldiers have been wearing them, and have been having their pictures taken in them , for years. This isn't one guy acting alone, it's an established "fashion" amongst soldiers worldwide. Which leads us to perhaps the more important point: the mask was not invented by Call of Duty , or its developers Infinity Ward. Indeed, its presence in the game was inspired by the mask's use by soldiers in real life, as it's been worn by US troops—who first took to it as a fashionable alternative from regular gear (it began life as a designer ski mask) at the beginning of the Iraq War—for almost a decade now, long before development ever began on the Modern Warfare series. It was even in Hollywood movies before it was in Call of Duty , with 2005's Harsh Times (left) featuring a scene in which Christian Bale is sporting a "skull mask" almost identical to the one "Ghost"—and now this French soldier—wears.

It seems like Call of Duty: Ghosts might treat the mask as something more than a fashion statement.

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Why is everyone on Twitter posting about this guy wearing a skull mask? Where is it from?

Fri, November 18, 2022 at 3:04:43 PM EST

The internet has a new boyfriend, and his name is Ghost. 

The Call of Duty character Simon “Ghost” Riley has been in the franchise since 2009. Since November, he has become Twitter ’s favorite reaction meme. First featured in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Ghost appeared as a British soldier with a skull balaclava and red-tinted glasses. 

But since 2020, Ghost has worn a skull mask with his eyes visible. This small change has made it possible for him to emote more. So it was only inevitable that his mysterious gaze would become a meme. 

@morsicant Call of Duty Ghost Stare meme template #memetemplate #morsicant #COD #callofdutymemes #callofdutymodernwarfare2 ♬ original sound – Morsicant

Both an image and clip of Ghost having an exasperated “bruh” moment have become popular on Twitter . In both versions, Ghost looks at Soap as if he is a buffoon. 

When your Friends on overwatch says “WTF IS OUR DPS DOING” but that dps is you 😭 pic.twitter.com/Z3gl1yvJ5i — Somjuu💫 (@ItsSomjuu) November 14, 2022

“When your Friends on overwatch says ‘WTF IS OUR DPS DOING’ but that dps is you,” @ ItsSomjuu  with a  video  of Ghost. 

Ghost is literally the best reaction meme ever. No one can top this pic.twitter.com/rqHmLzgPDi — Zawa |Hitman Vtuber| 🚮 | MWII enjoyer (@ZawaVT) November 17, 2022

“Ghost is literally the best reaction meme ever. No one can top this,” @ ZawaVT  wrote on  Twitter . 

ghost is officially a non-stop roller coaster of a reaction😅 pic.twitter.com/35L2gF1nHO — i_am_real (@aloysius_eshun) November 17, 2022

“Ghost is officially a non-stop roller coaster of a reaction,” @ aloysius_eshun  joked in a  Tweet . 

Me after I show a friend Ghost & I’m waiting for their reaction pic.twitter.com/Ow0Yx5vVJr — Nouran 🐀 (@AsphodeIFields) November 16, 2022

“Me after I show a friend Ghost & I’m waiting for their reaction,” @ AsphodeIFields  said,  sharing  a reaction photo of Ghost. 

The ghost reaction image is just how I feel every day rn pic.twitter.com/PJcGSlQtEw — James – Too many night shifts arc (@DazaisOilDrum) November 14, 2022

“The ghost reaction image is just how I feel every day rn,” @ DazaisOilDrum  added on Twitter . 

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