HomeNewsFeaturesDisplay

Simulator helps Airman overcome trauma

Senior Airman Ebony Robinson, 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron missile security operator, uses a vehicle simulator Jan. 28, 2019, 2019, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman Ebony Robinson, 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron missile security operator, uses a vehicle simulator Jan. 28, 2019, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The new vehicle simulator is used to train Airmen on how to react when their vehicle loses traction or goes off the road. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob M. Thompson)

Senior Airman Ebony Robinson, 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron missile security operator, puts on gear for a vehicle simulator Jan. 28, 2019, 2019, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman Ebony Robinson, 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron missile security operator, puts on gear for a vehicle simulator Jan. 28, 2019, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The simulator works with virtual reality technology to recreate the real-world experience to be as accurate as possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob M. Thompson)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Snow is a normal weather element in Montana, but it can turn dangerous quickly. One Airman was traumatized after she lost control of a Humvee.

“A member of the 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron had a close call driving a Humvee during the first winter weather in October,” said Col. Aaron Guill, 341st Security Forces Group commander.

“She was shaken by this experience so much she no longer felt comfortable driving in the field,” he added. “Her leadership sat down with her to develop a plan for her to overcome it.”

Senior Airman Ebony Robinson, 841st MSFS missile security operator, along with a team member, were driving to a launch facility when their Humvee lost control in a turn, spinning out several times before stopping at the edge of a cliff.

“I had never been in a car accident before and I’ve been driving in the missile field for three years,” said Robinson. “A scenario like that was traumatic for me. I had to go down on duty for a few weeks because of it.”

Going down on duty means the inability or temporary halt of performing tasks needed to accomplish a mission on a day-to-day basis.

Robinson met with a military family life consultant who recommended she try out the virtual skid car trainer to comfortably reintroduce herself to driving.

The simulator is a training tool for Airmen to learn how to recover control when their vehicle loses traction or skids off the road, with no real repercussion.

“Initially, I doubted the MFLC or simulator could truly help me out. I believed and told myself I would never drive a Humvee again,” said Robinson. “I thought they wouldn’t be able to help me, they don’t know me, they don’t know anything - I was wrong. They were incredibly helpful.”

According to Robinson, she had anxiety attacks because of the incident and the MFLC taught her breathing and calming techniques to use during the simulator to get accustomed to while driving.

After the techniques became second-nature, she built up the courage to start driving again, with the support and encouragement of her leadership and Maj. Christopher Thompson, 841st MSFS commander.

“The simulator was surprisingly accurate to that of driving a real Humvee,” said Robinson. “Maj. Thompson would actually come in and watch me in the simulator and came out with me when I had to drive a real Humvee.”

They first started driving around when weather was ideal and progressed to driving when it snowed.

“Maj. Thompson would drive until I felt comfortable and he made sure I was okay to drive,” said Robinson. “He’s a great commander and his help was valuable to my recovery.”

Because of the support of her peers and leadership, Robinson says she feels confident and fully mission-capable once again.

She since then has completed duties in the missile complex after her treatments, utilizing the tactics she was taught to remain calm and collected when faced with adversity.

“I tell everyone I know about the help I got. Everyone hesitates about driving in the weather up here,” Robinson said. “My wingman almost got into an accident himself and was scared enough to go down on duty, too, so I told him about the MFLC and the vehicle simulator.”

“I’ve been letting our Airmen know they can get help,” she continued. “These experiences don’t have to haunt you for the rest of your life, these methods do work and I proved it.”
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.