916SFS improves Defender training with Squadron Innovation Funds

  • Published
  • By Ashley Snipes
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing

Thanks to the hard work of Technical Sgt. Christopher Fulton, the 916th Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron was able to purchase their new MILO Firearms training simulator using Squadron Innovation Funds allowing Defenders to train in near real-world scenarios.

“The simulator provides 916 SFS Defenders a unique virtual training environment in order to build on the skills needed to face on the job challenges involving the protection of life and Air Force assets,” said Master Sgt. Justin Benz, NCOIC of training and readiness.

Trainers can choose from a wide variety of scenarios security forces members may face, such as an unauthorized person on the ramp, or an argument in a housing area. After the scenario is complete, the trainer and the user can than review the footage and discuss what went right and what went wrong.

“When we put anybody through it, they are able to make on-site corrections,” said Benz. “We are able to watch the ‘look-back’ camera and do an evaluation on why they responded this way versus other possibilities.”

Where verbal prompts are required, trainers working at the computer can select from various responses as the simulation unfolds. There are also options to record unit specific training scenarios, such as an aggressive citizen at the Oak Forest gate, allowing squadron members to practice their skills in familiar area without disrupting daily operations around the base.

“The goal and intent is for all members of the 916 SFS to learn how to respond to various situations that they may encounter while on-duty and learn that every situation they will encounter may require a different response,” said Lt. Col. Sounthavone Thiphavong, 916 SFS Commander. “It allows [us] the ability to increase our lethality as Defenders without the complexity of conducting large scale exercises.”

Fulton, the 916 SFS unit training manager sees long term potential with the simulator.

“My hope down the road is that we increase their skills on how to be a law enforcement officer; when to use force, when not to use force; learn how to talk to people in scenarios with heightened emotions,” said Fulton.

The 916 SFS is also excited to share their trainer with the wing and the host unit SFS.

“4th Fighter Wing SFS has been invited to use the simulator for their Defenders,” said Thiphavong. “Personnel from their training section have already been trained and certified on the use of the system.”

He also sees the simulator as a great training asset for the entire wing for weapons familiarization prior to live-fire qualification.

“The simulator provides excellent savings in the sense of cost, time and safety by eliminating the use of live ammunition and logistics planning,” added Benz. “By the press of a button, we open a new modernized world of training without having to put together all the pieces.”

As the wing returns to in-person UTA’s, the simulator will be vital to helping members refresh their skills and move forward with their training, ensuring 916 SFS has highly capable and well trained Reserve Citizen Airman Defenders.

“We are excited to provide the Air Force trained and lethal Defenders,” said Benz.