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Defenders revamp training with StressVest kits

Tech. Sgt. David Turner, 66th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of training, connects StressVest equipment sensors on Staff Sgt. Jason Penny, 66 SFS unit training scheduler, at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 22. StressVest kits send immediate feedback to wearers via either a light shock or vibration to simulate real-time engagement during training exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)

Tech. Sgt. David Turner, 66th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of training, connects StressVest equipment sensors on Staff Sgt. Jason Penny, 66 SFS unit training scheduler, at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 22. StressVest kits send immediate feedback to wearers via either a light shock or vibration to simulate real-time engagement during training exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)

SSgt. Jason Penny, 66th Security Forces Squadron unit training scheduler, secures a StressVest belt at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 22. StressVest kits include body panel vests, belts, hats, and weapon-mounted lasers, provide immediate feedback to the user via a light shock or vibration to simulate real-time engagement during trainings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)

SSgt. Jason Penny, 66th Security Forces Squadron unit training scheduler, secures a StressVest belt at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 22. StressVest kits include body panel vests, belts, hats, and weapon-mounted lasers, provide immediate feedback to the user via a light shock or vibration to simulate real-time engagement during trainings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Defenders from the 66th Security Forces Squadron are enhancing their training with the use of StressVests kits.

The kits, which include body panel vests, belts, hats, and weapon-mounted lasers, provide immediate feedback to the user via a light shock or vibration to simulate real-time engagement.

“This equipment will really greatly improve our force-on-force training, such as shoot, move, and communicate drills, and active shooter exercises,” said Tech. Sgt. David Turner, 66 SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of training.

Turner first brought the idea to purchase the vests to base leaders during a Warhawk Innovation Council pitch day in June as a way to upgrade the squadron’s training. Since receiving the vests in October, he said they’ve done exactly that.

“Just in the time we’ve had them, our Airmen are feeling more confident and competent about going into a real-world scenario,” he said.

Turner said Hanscom defenders previously trained with simulated rounds and paint-covered ball bearings where any potential hits were easily absorbed by protective plate vests, making it difficult to determine if an Airman had been hit at all.

“The new equipment leaves no question on whether someone’s been hit,” he said. “Now we have that added realism impacting our training, we’re better able to gauge our response time.”

The electronic equipment also gives defenders the opportunity to train more frequently anywhere, at any time, without the chance of leaving simulated round debris behind.

Turner said the new equipment can also be used by anyone, creating new possibilities for base-wide readiness exercises.

“I believe these kits could be really beneficial in developing exercise scenarios, and could give a great perspective for feedback,” he said.

Turner said he was glad for the chance to share his idea with senior leaders.

“It was great to feel heard, and I’m excited to see what we can continue to do for our squadron,” he said.