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Gen. McDew presents Commander’s Innovation Showcase Award

Members of the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia pose with the U.S. Transportation Command Commander’s Innovation Showcase Award trophy. Courtesy photo

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Illinois – Gen. Darren W. McDew, commander, U.S. Transportation Command, presented the Commander’s Innovation Showcase Award and honorable mention recognition for the second quarter on June 20, 2016.

The Innovation Showcase award was established in 2012 to recognize USTRANSCOM teams that demonstrate innovation and collaboration with a focus on the Commander’s Priorities while solving problems for the warfighter. Every quarter, the commander and the leadership team review award nominations from across the joint enterprise and select one overall winner and up to four honorable mentions. The team added the honorable mentions to the selection process in 2016 in order to recognize more USTRANSCOM personnel for their innovative work.

This quarter’s winners were from all over the globe, from Scott Air Force Base, to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington, to Southwest Asia, and were able to join either in person or by secure video teleconference (SVTC).

McDew opened the ceremony with a quote from author Chrissie Wellington: “Hard work and an open mind – it’s the only way to realize the potential that is inside every one of us.”

“From what I’ve read in the packages for this award,” he added, “your minds are definitely open to new possibilities to improve our command.”

McDew then presented honorable mention certificates to four teams:
•    The 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at JBLM received an honorable mention via SVTC for developing an idea submission process that empowers airmen at all levels to share ideas directly with decision makers for creating efficiencies and reducing unnecessary workload.
•    The Global Distribution Plans Branch (TCJ5-GP) was recognized with an honorable mention for creating a new process to identify gaps and seems between priority Department of Defense Operational Plans, Geographic Theater Posture Plans, and Theater Distribution Plans, allowing for a more efficient and effective Global Distribution Network.
•    The Integrated Multi-Modal Operations Team (TJC3-I) earned an honorable mention for demonstrating cross-component collaboration to develop a capability that allows the command to look across the transportation enterprise; integrate all air, land, and sea programs; and manage every aspect of the Plan, Order, Ship, Track, and Pay processes.
•    The Strategic Engagement Branch (TCJ5-SE) received an honorable mention award for exemplifying cross-command, cross-component and cross-combatant command collaboration to publish the first-ever strategy for engaging within a specific geographical region.

After McDew presented all the honorable mentions, he presented the Innovation Showcase trophy via SVTC to the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron (5th EAMS) in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

The 5th EAMS earned the top honors for developing a solution to prevent cracking on anti-collision light lenses on the C-17 fleet. Since the latest anti-collision light upgrade to the fleet, there has been an extremely high rate of cracking due to foreign object damage impact to the lower light. In fact, cracking was so frequent the demand for replacement parts was exceeding the capacity of the supply system.

The team’s solution uses two layers of commercial, off-the-shelf polyurethane clear tape to create a buffer on the lenses that minimizes impact caused by rocks and debris. It is forecasted to save $621,000 per year in aircraft parts and ease the demand on limited supply assets. It is also estimated to save 1,000 man-hours for other maintenance issues and prevent 5,520 hours of forecasted non-mission capable ground time.

“Innovation isn’t brain surgery; it is just making something happen that needs to happen,” said McDew during the ceremony.

Speaking on SVTC, Lt. Col. Daniel Hosler, 5th EAMS commander, said he was humbled his team was included among such an impressive group of nominees.

“I am absolutely thrilled that our 5th EAMS aircraft maintainers have been recognized for the prestigious TRANSCOM Innovation Award,” he added in an e-mail. “I am in awe of the work they do every day in austere, desert conditions.  Yet despite these conditions and limited resources in the deployed environment, they find a way to keep Air Mobility Command's C-17 and C-5 aircraft flying daily.  That is what innovation is all about – finding new, common sense approaches to resolve complex problems in order to accomplish the mission. I could not be prouder of our 5th EAMS ‘Jokers’ team.”

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