An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Virtual Reality brings training to life for Maxwell defenders

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Austin Jackson

Early in June, the sound of gunshots rang down the halls of a former civil engineering building at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Gunter Annex. Most people would have instinctively called security forces, but members of the 908th Airlift Wing’s Security Forces Squadron were already on the scene, training in a virtual reality simulator to put their use of force reasoning to the test.

  This annual training hones the 908th SFS members’ ability to make split-second decisions with as much information as possible. The training, however, does not start in the simulator. It begins in a classroom, where students study the proper definition of force and are refreshed on court cases concerning how and when to use force.

  Once the classroom work is completed, students test their knowledge in the simulator. Its five panoramic screens can create realistic situations controlled by the trainers, putting students in various conditions where they must interact with a potential subject. When a subject refuses to respond to a command, the trainees must react appropriately, trusting their training.

  “The biggest takeaways is for students to understand how and when to use force,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Meadows, a defender and the noncommissioned officer in charge of training for the 908th SFS. “My goal is that they’re comfortable with their training so when they get in a chaotic situation, they’re able to use it proficiently.”

  Civilian police officer and 908th SFS defender Senior Airman Amber Clemente said the training makes her a sharper police officer.

  “I think every situation as a cop is a new situation,” she said. “So training for the job just brings you up a level.”

  “It’s quite the experience,” added Senior Airman Ricardo Arias. “It’s not something you’re going to get anywhere else. You get what feels like hands-on training in the real world without the risk of injury.”

  Use-of-force training gives the 908th SFS members perspective on situation analysis, threat-level monitoring and responding with the proper force available. Training events like this, along with the virtual reality simulator, ultimately equip the members of the 908th SFS with the ability to be ready for action whenever it may come.

  “The training helps them,” Meadows said. “Even from a legal standpoint, knowing when to use force is something we have to deal with, even in the military.”

(Jackson is assigned to the 908th Airlift Wing public affairs office.)