Story by SSgt Laura Montgomery on 06/24/2019Members of the 145th and 159th Security Forces Squadrons wait in anticipation while enveloped in a dark room in the 176th Security Forces Squadron building at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, A.K. The only light emits from three large screens surrounding two players as they take the stage and prepare to initiate escalation and de-escalation tactics throughout random scenes presented to them during annual training.
The Milo Range is an interactive use of force, tactical judgement, and firearms training system used across the globe for military and government law enforcement agencies. Within a simulation, there is someone controlling the level of escalation and de-escalation, as well as number of targets, and weapons calibration, as each person training attempts to face these virtual scenarios.
"It [Milo Range] puts all the Airmen that ever attempt it in a really good mindset, it's a lot of real world scenarios and some things that they may come across on the active duty side," said Staff Sgt. Amy Mora, 176th Security Forces Squadron, Milo Range trainer.
As Air National Guard members, the 159th and 145th Security Forces Squadron have people within their groups that are, "traditional guardsmen," and have civilian jobs outside of their military status. Some individuals work law enforcement for their state as well as the military.
"I've noticed a lot of these people are civilian side officers as well, so they're able to give their own input for what they do on a day to day basis while incorporating the Air Force standards for use of force," said Staff Sgt. Mora, "and I think the balance between those is outstanding."
One such individual is Staff Sgt. Daniel Berrincha, 159th Security Forces Squadron, New Orleans, L.A.
"I think it's effective; you're not going to get what you could in the real world but it's the best option to give Airmen something as real as you can make it," said Staff Sgt. Berrincha. "It's something different than a flight line demo; what you can encounter in any situation no matter what your job is."
For some individuals, the virtual training is completely new and it's hard to wrap their heads around shouting commands at the screen as if commanding a real person.
"I'm excited about training in Alaska, I'm doing things I've never done before," said Airman 1st Class Agatha Talahumbu, 145th Security Forces Squadron. "I've never done the simulator before, it was actually interesting to go through it because the scenarios and people seemed very real; but I think I did pretty well."
For many, the simulation experiences gave them more to think about outside of their usual training.
"The simulator taught me to be more aware of any scenario that you're stepping into," said A1C Talahumbu,"because you can have your eyes on the person you're communicating with but there might be something going on in the background; you need 360-vision."
The men and women of the North Carolina and Louisiana Air National Guard, as players, aren't the only ones learning from the Milo Range simulator.
"It helps us further our training with the milo; our experience plus their experience is a nice equilibrium," said Staff Sgt. Mora, "I appreciate you all coming out and giving us a chance to run these scenarios, it gives us the opportunity to give what we know to someone else."