151st SFS creates new portable cordon system with Squadron Innovation Funds
By TSgt Annie Edwards, 151st Air Refueling Wing
/ Published December 11, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah --
Airmen with the Utah Air National Guard’s 151st Security Forces Squadron received money from the Squadron Innovation Fund to create a portable cordon system that can be used to quickly establish a temporary Restricted Area and Entry Control Point on the flight line.
The Air Force’s Squadron Innovation Fund program, established in 2018, distributes funds at the Wing level each year to support new ideas designed to improve readiness, reduce costs, or save time.
“As demands on the Wing increase, we are looking for ways to use our time, manpower, and resources more effectively. The Squadron Innovation Fund program encourages Airmen at all levels, enlisted and officers, to find ways to fix processes so we can work smarter and not harder,” said Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Hooper, Command Chief, 151st Air Refueling Wing.
The portable cordon system was first used during an Operational Readiness Exercise held during October drill at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City.
“For this training exercise we had to be flexible with the restricted area,” said Staff Sgt. Kelly Sessions, the Unit Deployment Manager and Equipment Custodian for the 151st SFS.
During a training exercise last year, Sessions and her team had become frustrated while setting up the squadron’s previous cordon system, a time-consuming process that involved hundreds of feet of rope on a single reel.
“We had problems getting everything done in a timely matter,” said Sessions. “When it’s go time and your equipment doesn’t work that’s a huge problem.”
The new system, financed with innovation funds, consists of shorter lengths of rope attached to 15 smaller reels that can be set up and taken down in a matter of minutes. Sessions worked with other members of the 151st SFS to perfect the design after they encountered a similar rope system used by another security forces squadron at a different location.
Sessions submitted a request to the Squadron Innovation Fund program. After it was approved, she worked with the 151st Maintenance Group to customize the reels ordered for the squadron’s new system.
Master Sgt. Timothy Lurker, 151st MXG aircraft structural maintenance specialist, and his team worked with the 151st SFS to attach signs and ropes to each reel. They also helped utilize weights the squadron already had to help stabilize the reels.
Lurker said his team occasionally works on projects with the 151st Civil Engineer Squadron and has worked with security forces on one or two past projects as well. The opportunity to collaborate with another squadron on a project that does not have the structured requirements of aircraft maintenance provides valuable experience for his team.
“This helps us think outside of the box,” said Lurker. “When we do projects away from the aircraft it lets us be more creative.”
Sessions described the process of designing and assembling the rope system as a great team effort that involved ideas and adjustments suggested by individuals from security forces and maintenance.
“These innovation funds were there and readily available to use by anyone who will put in the work to do some change,” said Sessions.
This is the third year that the 151st Air Refueling Wing has participated in the Squadron Innovation Funds Program. Each year the Wing receives approximately $100,000 in funds and anyone on base, officer or enlisted, can submit ideas for consideration under the program. All entries received by the Wing's deadline are considered by the Wing’s Innovation Fund team and then prioritized based on need.