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Standing in the shoes of a defender: MILO training provides a realistic perspective

By Sgt. Amber Jacobs 934th Airlift Wing

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In the distance shots are fired as a teacher and her students are huddled by a lunch table shaking with fear. People are injured and scared because a local school is under attack by several active shooters.

Members from the 934th Security Forces Squadron work together shouting out directional commands to clear out the building and ensure the safety of the faculty and students. As a shooter appears from behind a pillar in the lunch room to open fire, the Airmen respond with accuracy and speed saving the fear-struck teacher and students from further harm and injury.

Suddenly everything stops--.

The Airmen are asked to place their weapons on safety and review the virtual scenario.

While this was not a real event, members from the 934th SFS are now able to experience a new type of computer-based simulation-training called MILO, also known as a Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives system here on base as of Nov. 27, 2017.

MILO is a simulator that allows defenders to practice different real-world scenarios they can encounter on the job in a safe virtual environment. The simulator helps determine the type of force needed to best handle a situation, Senior Master Sgt. Michael Ross, 934th SFS operations superintendent explained.

What sets MILO apart from other training simulators is the ability to create customized scenarios that can be digitally recorded by training managers and then uploaded to the system. This allows trainers to develop virtual situations at specific locations or buildings throughout the 934th Airlift Wing and provides defenders an opportunity to train for real situations they could encounter.

Additionally, training managers can load other training scenarios from around the world into MILO that can prepare defenders for upcoming qualifying exams or deployments ensuring 934th SFS members are combat-ready.

“Before we had MILO there was absolutely no way we could simulate a use of force situation outside of this kind of environment unless it was real-world,” Ross said. “We can now build our own story boards and take it to any direction. We can even help individuals who need extra help passing the Air Force qualification course or just some extra practice working on mechanics, communication and breathing.”

MILO helps defenders build and strengthen muscle-memory instincts so when the time calls for them to respond they are able to recall their training to make the best choices and decisions possible when out in the field.

Senior Airman Caleb Steeves, 934th SFS fire team member, recently completed several MILO training scenarios and explained how MILO is already improving the readiness of 934th defenders, “It’s not about shooting. A lot of times it’s about managing stress, managing anxiety and making the right decisions in a situation. MILO helps defenders be both physically and mentally prepared.”

What makes MILO training unique is it allows defenders to be untethered since it does not use a hose system to replicate the feeling of shots fired. Instead, the system uses carbon-dioxide cylinders in casings resembling ammo cartridges. Using carbon-dioxide in ammo cartridges gives defenders more freedom to move around and provides more of a natural feel during training. Additionally, MILO allows training managers to convert the weapons systems the 934th SFS already have in-stock to be used on the simulator.

“Technology has advanced to the point now that we can use lasers and special cartridges to convert the weapon systems that we have to use in the simulator,” Ross explained. “We can use the M-9, the M-4, a taser, OC spray, a baton, and we can even simulate punches and kicks, so it’s pretty endless what we can do.”

While 934th defenders might not be faced with a local school shooting anytime soon here at home station, MILO is truly versatile since it provides a first-hand perspective on the different challenges and choices police officers and security forces members face in the line of duty.

“MILO provides an opportunity for other people who are not security forces members to see what we do and what we deal with,” Steeves said. “A common expression is you never know how an officer feels or what he is going through until you stand in his shoes, and this is a great way for civilians and Airmen who are not security forces members to stand in our shoes and stand behind the weapon and make the choices that we have to make every day.”