The Air Force awarded TSgt. Jesse Swiderek, an aircraft metals technology craftsman with the 31st Maintenance Squadron at Aviano AB, Italy, $10,000 for creating a new, more efficient process for repairing aircraft fuel tanks. His proposal, rewarded under the service’s Innovative Development through Employee Awareness, or IDEA, program, is expected to save the Air Force $200,000 annually, states an Aug. 20 Aviano release. “We are presenting Sergeant Swiderek this check for a simple idea: work less,” said Col. Fredrick Plaumann, 31st Maintenance Group commander. Before Swiderek’s idea, maintainers would check every 60 days for cracks on the fuel tank support rings after they identified one crack. If they discovered another crack, then they replaced all of the support rings. “Because the support rings did not have any load-bearing properties, I worked with our item manager to see if we could do these inspections annually instead of the 60-day mark,” said Swiderek. (Aviano report by Ryan Whitney) (See also Creative Thinkers Wanted and Sometimes Simple is Best.)
The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness revised the Defense Department’s COVID-19 guidelines. The new rules clarify what’s meant by being “up to date” on vaccinations and when personnel must wear masks in vehicles, among other changes.