The Altus Air Force Base 97 Air Mobility Wing, and members of the Altus community, welcomed the CINC Installation Excellence Selection Board upon landing in Altus on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 9. Over 300 airmen lined to road with American Flags leading the IES Board from the flight-line to their lodging area, who were escorted by Security Forces and lead by AFB Wing leaders on horse back.
The IES Board of four Colonels, representing major commands across the Air Force and their teams, will visit with select support groups at Altus Air Force Base and attend other events as part of the evaluation process for the US Air Force 2014 Commander In Chief Installation Excellence Award as phase 2 of the selection process.
AAFB is up against Travis Air Force Base, Calif., as one of two finalists for the award that recognizes those installations that stand out for their innovations in cost savings while carrying out their mission for the Department of Defense. Initially, AAFB submitted an award package to the Air Education Training Command competing against all other Air Bases by highlighting areas of innovation, cost savings, quality of life, team building, and problem solving.
“It’s really about how we utilize our resources,” 97th Air Mobility Wing Commander, Col. Bill Spangenthal said. “Really at the end of the day, we’re allowing our Airmen around the base to talk to the team about the great things that they do day to day. This is a way to highlight the great things that folks have done. It’s a lot of work but it should be fun.”
Of the 96 total innovative cost saving ideas, some highlights include identifying a reduction of 2,260 C-17 flight hours and 760 KC-135 flight hours, allowing a sell-back amount of $62.3 million. AAFB’s implementation of the Boom Operator Weapons System Trainer (BOWST) eliminated seven training days from the original qualification syllabus, resulting in 22 percent reduction of flight hours saving $36 million annually. The base also installed 3 miles of pipeline for a JP-8 Aviation Fuel Transfer which lead to 8,600 fewer miles traveled on base roads by 2,800 fuel trucks, saving $175,000 annually. The 97th Civil engineer Squadron devised a raw water irrigation project that saves 43 million gallons of water and $41,000 annually.
Aside from cost savings, this year the 97 Air Mobility Air Crew delivered 10,000 lbs. of food and supplies to Haiti for a humanitarian effort, feeding and estimated 10,000 Haitian children in the Air Force’s largest single day of food delivery in 15 years.
The IES Board plans to attend several events before departing Saturday morning, including a ribbon cutting ceremony at AAFB today for the JP-8 Aviation Fuel Transfer pipeline, and also a “STEM Day” event held at Altus High School gymnasium, on Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., sponsored by AAFB to educate students on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics careers available and in demand in the Air Force.
Members of the Altus community will also meet with the IESB team during their visit. “We’ve invited the Altus community leadership to be a part of almost everything we’re doing,” Col. Spangenthal said. “Everything is so interwoven between us and the community that it’s something we need to definitely highlight.”
The winner of the Commander In Chief Installation Award will win $1,000,000 and runner up will receive $500,000 to improve the quality of life for families and airmen on base. In 1992, AAFB was nominated for the award and won.