Simple idea solves complex problem

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman David Bernal Del Agua
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Constantly having to open a restricted access gate day in and day out for people without proper access can be taxing and unnecessary. After dealing with this a tedious task for more than a year, one Airman decided to speak up.

Airman 1st Class Darren Curtis, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants Flight fuels journeyman, spoke up about the problem his shop was dealing with and also suggested a solution during an Airmen's breakfast.

"We had a lot of increased traffic at our gate because the [KC-46A Pegasus] construction cut the direct flightline path to our side and we had to send Airmen out to let people in and escort them through our gate," said Curtis. "I realized most of these people had flightline access badges, but not access to our gate."

Curtis thought of a plan that would alleviate the added stress the construction project had placed on his shop.

"It was a matter of these people who needed access speaking with their security managers and adding our gate to their already existing permissions," said Curtis.

During an Airmen's breakfast with the 22nd LRS commander, Curtis had the courage to shine a light on the issue.

"Every month we have a breakfast with Airmen to find out how things are going in their shops and also to bring up concerns that we can help alleviate if possible," said Maj. Robert Magee, 22nd LRS commander. "Curtis told me about their problem and it came out to be around 1,400 man hours that we saved and now use for refueling operations."

Magee was so impressed with the innovative idea that he gave the POL flight the green light to proceed with their proposed plan immediately after the breakfast was over.

"We implemented the new policy within an hour of talking to Maj. Magee," said Curtis. "It was a huge change, so of course it took a little bit to get used to, but it turned out to be a really positive thing. It reduced the number of hours we spent having to come out of our building and let others in."

Curtis' idea sprung up because Magee and his staff broke down innovation to more precisely target changes in their squadron like reducing footsteps that weren't necessary in the workplace.

"The refueling career field was one of the hardest hit during force shaping," said Magee. "So every minute I can give back to them is time we can use for training, inspections and Airman development. Curtis' idea improves the overall morale of his shop and I'm proud of Curtis' forward-thinking mindset, and I am glad to have him here as part of our team."