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Altus AFB embraces C3 initiative, saving AF millions of dollars

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kenneth W. Norman
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Faced with current and future budget constraints, the commander of Air Education and Training Command Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr. identified the need to develop a cost-conscious culture and Airmen from Altus AFB have answered the call by saving the Air Force approximately $26 million.

"I think we all have a personal responsibility," said Chief Master Sgt. David A. Fish, 97th Air Mobility Wing command chief. "In today's Air Force we have a shrinking budget. We know that in the near future money will become less plentiful than it has been over the last couple of decades. Everyone - big A - Airmen, has a responsibility to try to stretch the dollar a little farther than we ever have."

Projects completed by the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron, such as changes to the raw-water irrigation lines, re-utilization of equipment, the construction of a children's park, rubber removal from the flight line, and rebuilding the base jogging trail have saved the Air Force approximately $1.1 million.

"I have a lot of pride from the things that we have done," said Dean Thornton, 97th CES deputy chief of operations. "The raw-water line was huge. It is a huge savings and it takes a burden off of the cities system. It is one of the things I am most proud of."

The 97th CES is not the only squadron at Altus AFB working to become more cost conscious. Airmen from the 97th Security Forces Squadron have also developed an innovative project that is saving the base money.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Treadwell, 97th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of the armory, led the building of an M203 Grenade Launcher shooting range, which will save the base thousands of dollars and man-hours annually.

"We built the M203 range on base," Treadwell said. "Before we built it we had to truck all of our Airmen down to either Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas or Fort Sill, which annually in gas it saves us more than $1,600. You are saving anywhere from 650-720 man-hours a year."

By using recycled materials for building the range, the 97th SFS saved even more money.

"When we built the range we used all recycled materials except for our signage, which was provided by the 97th CES," Treadwell said. "The targets out there were recycled from another area on base, so that was a onetime savings of about $40,000."

Treadwell believes the C3 concept will create a better future for Airmen.

"I am setting myself up for the future by saving money here today and I am setting up the guys that are going to come after me," Treadwell said.

An Airman from the 97th Operations Support Squadron figured out a way to save the base money by using materials that were already available in his shop to fix an ongoing problem.

"We were having some problems with the quick dawn mask hangers on the KC-135 Stratotankers," said Staff Sgt. Shane Appleton, 97th OSS aircrew flight equipment technician.
"When it gets cold [the straps] tend to break easily. We also ran into an issue with maintenance because they couldn't purchase them anymore. So we were trying to find an alternative to the plastic strap."

The strap that he created is made of half-inch nylon webbing.

"What we found was we can make nylon straps and do all the work here. It costs about 30 cents per strap, rather than $23 per plastic strap," Appleton said. "This strap alleviates the whole issue all together. The strap will not break as easily and it is cheaper to make."

Appleton believes if every Airman was conscious about saving the Air Force money, they would not have to worry about personnel losing their jobs to force shaping.

"If everybody is looking for specific ways to cut costs in their work areas, we won't have to worry about force shaping and losing good, hardworking individuals," Appleton said. "If everybody was conscious about that it would make a difference."

Chief Fish encourages Airmen to find ways to save money and present their ideas.

"I would tell Airmen the only bad idea is an idea that they don't share," Fish said. "If you have an idea, bring it to the table because no idea is too small. All of us have an obligation to save a couple dollars a day or a couple dollars a week. If we can all figure out how we can do that we will become a better Air Force."

Fish also expressed his gratitude for Airmen like Appleton and Treadwell who let their ideas be known.

"I would like to thank innovative Airmen we have here at Altus Air Force Base, like Staff Sgt. Treadwell and Staff Sgt. Appleton for bringing some of the ideas that they had and actually sharing that with their leadership," Fish said. "They are not just saving money and time, they are making a difference."