509th LRS recognized for excellence

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hailey Farrell
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Hard work has led to success for the 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

The U.S. Air Force selected the 509th LRS as one of two Air Force nominees for the DOD Award for Supply Chain Operational Excellence. They will now compete against nominees from each of the other services.

This award recognizes projects that demonstrate significant improvement in logistics management providing a showcase for innovative management and technology tools used to improve supply chain efficiency and effectiveness.

509th LRS already had to compete against all other nominees from the Air Force, most of them larger logistics units. They would be the first tactical level unit to win the award if they won, making them the smallest unit to take first place.

Vincent Baugh, 509th LRS, Individual Protective Equipment manager, leads the team that came up with the new process for constructing deployment kits that earned the squadron the nomination.

These kits contain the protective gear that protects Whiteman AFB members when they deploy to hazardous locations. They include equipment like armored vests and environmental protective gear.

“In the past, the deployment kit was filled with gear that was not tailored to the members and instead used tariff-sizing,” said Baugh. “Meaning we would have a set number of sizes for the deployment gear. The problem with that is if you have 100 individuals who need a large size and we only have 80, someone would be stuck with gear that is not the correct size.” 

Leadership identified this as a problem, and they were not willing to accept the risk of using tariff-sized gear if the kits needed to be used in a real-world scenario, said Capt. Taylor Canter, 509th LRS, Material Management Flight commander. 

“It matters because the deployment gear is the first line of defense,” she said.

So, LRS leadership sat down with IPE team and tasked them to find a way to replace tariff-sizing gear in the kits with specific sizes for each member.

The first step in implementing the change was to reach out to units to collect the names of members who require a deployment kit and their size. Once IPE has the information, they can build the member a new kit.

IPE took apart the already existing kits, sorted the components by size, and started building new kits customized to each member.

The IPE team takes the list of names and builds a new bag for each member with their specific size requirement.

After a kit is complete, the IPE team seals it and attaches a serial number then issues it to the member labeled with their name for ease of distribution.

With the new system, the kits are already ready to be given to the member as soon as they arrive downrange, saving time once they get there. This can save about an hour per person, adding up to about 200-man hours total per deployment, said Baugh.

Canter said this innovation answers the question- “how do we best posture our people so when they are sent on deployment, they are as prepared as possible?” It could also be implemented across the Air Force.

“This innovation is very impactful and has the potential to be used enterprise wide,” she said.

This new process demonstrates Whiteman AFB’s priority to ensure readiness for Airmen to support the mission and execute global strike operations… anytime, anywhere.