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Empowering the future: 81st LRS Innovation Lab

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kurstyn Canida
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

The 81st Logistics Readiness Squadron developed an Innovation Lab that will foster academic excellence and support continuous learning for Airmen.

The Innovation Lab will provide a space for service members to come together and develop innovative solutions to challenges they may face in their career fields. By cultivating creativity, the Innovation Lab aims to also serve as a platform for Airmen to showcase their talents and skills, enabling them to take ownership of their unique ideas and perspectives while also contributing to the continuous improvement of the Air Force.

“Airmen in all units, of all ranks, are always asked to solve problems across the base, but the tools to solve those problems has sometimes been limited,” said Lt. Col. Kyle Boothe, 81st LRS commander. “This type of lab lets us be more creative in how we solve problems and gives Airmen the resources to turn their ideas into solutions.”

The squadron will create a space where Airmen can tackle all different kinds of problems they come across in daily operations, both large and small.

“We already have a 3D printer in use that has been tasked to create cosmetic car parts such as knobs for air conditioners at a fraction of the cost while avoiding supply chain issues,” said Staff Sgt. Joel Hendrickson, 81st LRS ground transportation operations center NCO in charge.

Along with the 3D printer, the lab will also offer training with virtual reality headsets. The classroom setting offers guided lessons from instructors and a digital display table that will help the Air Force embody the agile combat employment model with better mission planning capability.

No matter their job, unit or skill level, the lab will offer an engaging learning environment to Keesler’s permanent party Airmen to develop practical skills for real-world scenarios.

“We can have people in the classroom going over scenarios that we can’t do in Mississippi, like driving through mountains in the snow or driving through the desert during a sandstorm.” Hendrickson explained. “It can pave the way to have Airmen preemptively learn capabilities that they’ll need to know to be safe and successful.”

By getting hands-on experience solving problems, Airmen will gain a deeper understanding of a subject matter and become better prepared to respond effectively in unpredictable situations.

“This project really gives us flexibility in preparing people for the mission ready and multi-capable Airmen mindset,” said Boothe. “That flexibility is going to give us the readiness we’re going to need for tomorrow’s fight”.