Fighting against bloody noggins

  • Published
  • By Joseph Coslett
  • 90th Missile Wing

Fighting bloody noggins

Bam, ouch! A young Airman hits his head on a piece of equipment while performing missile maintenance.

The Airmen of the 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron work hard daily to perform upkeep on missiles at different missile alert and launch facilities. It is a common occurrence for Airmen to hit and hurt themselves while performing maintenance.

“One of my Airmen came back to base with a nasty cut on his head from hitting it against some equipment on site,” said 1st Lt. Charles Humphries, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron, Facilities Maintenance officer in charge.

Tech. Sgt. Haisen Exon, 90 MMXS, Facilities Maintenance Section, support section NCOIC, came up with an idea to prevent his teammates from hitting their heads repeatedly while performing maintenance in non-hard hat areas.

“After seeing the bump on his head, I recalled reading an article about Airmen overseas introducing a new style bump cap for the Airmen working out on the flight line,” Exon said. “I then opened up an Air Force manual and found the regulations governing use of bump caps, then I brought the idea forward to the section.”

Making the idea a reality

Exon and Tech. Sgt. Ferdie Galicia, 90 MMXS, coordinated the idea to get approval for the Airmen to use the bump caps and implemented the testing of a prototype bump cap. Then they coordinated with LaunchWERX to conduct further testing and with the help of the Occupational Health and Safety office to see where else the bump caps can be used across the wing.

Doing the legwork can take extensive amounts of time, and LaunchWERX’s mission is to help launch ideas.

“Tech. Sgt. Exon is very passionate and motivated about this project, but he also has a job to do,” Staff Sgt. Kolby Davis, LaunchWERX innovation specialist. “Since he must remain focused on his primary duty, LaunchWERX did the research and prepared consumer presentations and documents so that Tech. Sgt. Exon could focus on his daily responsibilities.”

LaunchWERX created a plan to test and verify the need for the idea. Additionally, they will see if the idea could benefit other 90th Missile Wing units or the other wings within 20th Air Force.

“We want the Mighty Ninety to know we are here to help every Airman from start to finish on projects of any size or complexity,” Davis said. “We are also capable of helping with projects if they have begun without us and need support to continue moving the project along, so they don’t need to devote nearly as much time.”

We need Airmen to make the impossible, possible

One Airman can make a difference in an organization.

“We are lucky to have [Sergeant Exon] here,” Humphries said. “It is extremely valuable to have members from different places offer up and implement ideas like this. Not only does it show that he cares about his people, but he adds more to the wealth of knowledge and ideas that we need to tackle a multitude of challenges.”

Exon, originally from Richfield, Idaho, used his experience plus teaming up with LaunchWERX to implement the bump caps to prevent future bloody noggins.

“I will be happy knowing our Airmen are better protected from unnecessary head injuries,” Exon said.

Editor’s Note:  If you have an innovative idea, no matter how small or large, contact LaunchWERX at 307-773-2028 or They would love to help launch your idea.