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59th MDW Airman honored at inaugural D3 summit

Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, the Air Force assistant vice chief of staff, and Under Secretary of the Air Force Lisa S. Disbrow congratulate Team 3-D Printing in the Pentagon, Feb. 29, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, the Air Force assistant vice chief of staff, and Under Secretary of the Air Force Lisa S. Disbrow congratulate Senior Airman Lianne Blackburn (center) and Team 3-D Printing in the Pentagon, Feb. 29, 2016. Blackburn is a medical technician with the 959th Medical Group at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- A 59th Medical Wing medic was part of a four-person team honored at the inaugural Defense, Diplomacy and Development Innovation Summit Pitch Challenge March 3 in Washington, D.C.

Senior Airman Lianne Blackburn, a medical technician in the neuro-intensive care unit with the 959th Medical Group at the San Antonio Military Medical Center on nearby JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, was part of Team 3-D Printing, a group of Airmen who were once classmates at the University of Texas. Out of 500 submissions, six were selected to pitch their idea on leveraging technology to advance D3 objectives in innovative ways to senior leaders. Team 3-D Printing was one of two Air Force teams chosen to present.

The team won the “Impact” award for their pitch to use 3-D construction printing to build structures such as hardened shelters in austere conditions or buildings for refugee camps. The other members of the team were Staff Sgt. Ismael Montecel, and Capts. Matthew Stalford and Andrew Stalford

“(Our) proposal said the U.S. needs to (begin) funding research and creating its own 3-D building printers. Other countries have already begun to develop multiple models to suit different needs,” Blackburn explained.

Team 3-D Printing said aircraft could easily transport 3-D construction printers to any location in the world. Local materials could then be used for the construction projects, reducing the need for manual labor, lowering risk to personnel and improving efficiency.

“The technique involves constructing buildings, layer by layer, (using) a computer in a process that replicates current 3-D printing methods. The government would be able to build buildings cheaper and more quickly,” Blackburn said.

Team 3-D Printing presented its idea Feb. 29 to Under Secretary of the Air Force Lisa S. Disbrow and Assistant Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. John Hesterman.

“This is the kind of innovative thinking we need and want from our Airmen,” Disbrow said. “It’s especially exciting to see these two teams come together from across the service to solve problems we see in our Air Force that also have the potential to impact the world. I’m proud of what they’ve done and look forward to more ideas like this in the future.”

(Contributions from Tech. Sgt. Bryan Franks, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information)