SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
The 52nd Fighter Wing has a record of promoting innovation, and one of the more recent improvements is estimated to save at least 15,000 man hours.
Last year 110 volunteers from different work centers showed up to clean 2,700 M4 rifles. Out of the 2,700 rifles only 140 passed a Combat Arms service inspection. With only five percent of weapons passing inspection, one Airman at Spangdahlem Air Base decided to find a solution.
Tech. Sgt. Kyle Deconnick, Logistics Readiness Squadron NCOIC of Individual Protective Equipment, spent weeks contacting various POCs to gather recommendations and figure out how to order an ultrasonic weapons cleaner for Spangdahlem.
Although it was Tech. Sgt. Deconnick who pursued the idea, he says it was a team effort to decide on which machine to order and how to acquire the funding.
“With the help of Tech. Sgt. Fields from Security Forces and Tech. Sgt. Manwaring and Matthew Kaleikini from contracting, we collectively decided on a machine,” said Deconnick. “Through the efforts of the Mission Support Group, all squadrons from within agreed to contribute some of their innovation funds towards our requirement. Once the funds were appropriated, the fabrication process began, which ultimately took eight weeks to complete.”
Purchasing the ultrasonic cleaner was the first step and since the cleaner would be shipped with hazardous chemicals, causing delays in retrieving the assets, Deconnick reached out to TMO for assistance.
“Tech. Sgt. Kissee had suggested using a DD Form 1149 to ship from the vendor’s location right to our base and that’s exactly what we did. An 1149 was created and Safety Data Sheets for the chemicals were sent to outbound cargo in TMO who worked the shipping labels for us.”
With the cleaner in house, Deconnick said there has been instant measurable results.
“On a typical work day shift, with a two-member team, we are able to get 60 M4s inspection-ready” said Deconnick.
Since arrival on September 22, the ultrasonic cleaner has already saved at least 1,224 man hours and ultimately will save at least 15,000 man hours once all 2,700 weapons have gone through the cleaning process.
Although Deconnick did not create the cleaner, he did find a solution, and with the Air Force constantly showing interest in innovation he encourages every work center to look at ways to become more efficient.
“These are not only a wise investment for weapons, but they can be used on basically any and all metals,” said Deconnick. “I would love to give a shout out to Tech. Sgt. Fields, Tech. Sgt. Manwaring, Tech. Sgt. Kissee, and Matt Kaleikini for putting this as a priority, and a major shout out to Greg and Joseph at (the manufacturer) for the quick replies and seeing this through!”