The 926th Security Forces Squadron incorporates virtual reality into their Use of Force training during the Mandatory Unit Training Assembly, Oct. 4, 2020, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
The Citizen Airmen are spearheading the movement as the first wing in the Air Force Reserve Command to incorporate VR training to run though scenarios and target range practice with their Security Forces members.
They recently acquired Street Smarts VR, which provides specialized virtual reality simulated training experiences to prepare law enforcement and military for effective de-escalation of high stress situations.
The scenarios are tailored towards situations that members will encounter day-to-day, with variable outcomes set by the trainer, and allows them to work on communication and debriefing of decision-making.
“It’s awesome, it’s one of the best tools that we have as a resource for escalation and de-escalation of force,” said Staff Sgt. David Greenwood, 926th SFS training instructor. “It makes you use your brain more, it makes you talk more.”
One of the unique capabilities of utilizing VR is the immediate debrief following the end of a scenario that places trainees into another person’s point-of-view in the headset, allowing members to perform decision-making analyses on their own actions during the simulation.
Greenwood explained that this opportunity to review with the trainee afterwards is an invaluable tool.
“You can do their whole review and the replay helps me as the trainer to ask them, ‘Why did you do this? Justify what you did,’ and I can critique them,” said Greenwood.
Simulations provide a cost effective way to allow members to run through scenarios during any available free time, providing members with more opportunities for training and practice repetitions where they might not have had resources to physically do so.
Trainees are encouraged to work on their articulation throughout scenarios, and interactions have been shown to create biophysical feedback in the person responding to the training situation.
“Overall I think for the inexperienced, it takes them out of their comfort zone and creates that muscle memory,” said Senior Master Sgt. Julious Del Rosario, 926th SFS superintendent.
The opportunity presented itself for the 926th SFS to obtain VR with the help from Technical Sgt. Kevin Ray, 926 SFS non-commissioned officer in charge of training, and the 99th Security Forces Squadron, who were currently using the technology.
Del Rosario said he also knew the system would be beneficial to their members.
“Unfortunately, no matter how much we simulate and do exercise type of training, it will not be the same as a real world scenario,” said Del Rosario. “However, these types of training gives the tools and mindset for them to be successful when a real world situation arises.”
It also provides an opportunity for others to gain an understanding of what defenders encounter in their line of duty.
“We don’t limit the VR System to just Security Forces members, we encourage others to give it a try because it does develop a perspective for non-first responders to see a different viewpoint in what Law Enforcement go through on a daily basis,” said Del Rosario.