MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Georgia —
The 23rd Wing Religious Affairs team implemented virtual reality crisis training in February 2022 at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.
This initiative aims to elevate the reality of crisis situations and reinvigorate the way Moody’s trains in sexual assault and suicide prevention. The training is divided into different modules, each containing topics consistent with the computer-based and face-to-face training.
“It’s a great way to train for real-world scenarios,” Tech said. sergeant. Gian Carlo Cintron, 23 Wing religious affairs non-commissioned officer in charge of resource management. “It provides a unique perspective and has you saying phrases out loud and reminding you to use the Ask, Care, Escort method.”
Virtual reality provides a realistic way to practice the ACE method by providing users with the ability to ask what is wrong, care for the individual’s well-being, and accompany them for further assistance, which is crucial to ensure a person’s safety.
“I think it’s a great tool,” Cintron said. “It is difficult to find the right approach for subjects that are inherently sensitive. Virtual reality allows an individual to fully immerse themselves in the scene of the subject of the chosen module. »
In one of the modules, the user is “face to face” with an actor or actress who is going through a crisis and it is up to the user to help calm them down and get the support they need choosing from the automated responses provided.
Due to the realistic nature of the training, some users may encounter triggers such as beer bottles, broken glass, and pills in the virtual environment.
“Using the virtual reality training has been a little intense,” said Tierra Jackson, community readiness specialist with the 23rd Wing Airman Family Readiness Center. “You don’t want to make the wrong call and yet sometimes there seem to be a few ‘right’ answers. However, it was rewarding to see the positive impact when implementing the knowledge we gain through our training in face to face. “
While virtual reality cannot replace face-to-face training or required computer-based training, service members and key spouses can use the technology in conjunction with CBTs to improve their ability to navigate crisis situations. .
“I think if we combined the face-to-face training, the VR modules and had small group discussions afterwards, it would help people to open up more and build trust with those around them,” said said Cintron. “I hope one day every unit or squadron on the base can have their own VR setup that their Airmen can use anytime, anytime.”
Although the future is unknown with virtual reality in the military, those who experience the training themselves can benefit from it in a way that is different from written or oral forms of crisis training.
“I hope the biggest benefit they get from VR training is the impact of the right words and actions in the moment,” Jackson said. “There is no redoing in real-life emergencies. Learning to navigate a situation ahead of time will be the primary benefit of VR training. »
Virtual reality is not recommended for those who have experienced sexual assault or suicide. For more information and a chance to participate in the VR modules, contact the Moody Chapel at 229-257-3211.