Innovation emerges at 90 LRS

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Muñoz
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

The 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron hosted a “Nuclear Shark Tank” initiative for the first time last month on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.

“Listening to ideas from the Airmen on what tools, equipment and training they need is imperative,” said Chief Master Sgt. Juan Torres, senior enlisted leader at 90 LRS. “We need to encourage and empower Airmen in order to generate ideas and solutions for the unit.”

All four Airmen at the event introduced pieces of equipment that would increase work productivity if implemented into their workplace. Among them was Airman Arturo Cervantes, a supply technician within the 90th LRS Material Management Flight, who recommended all personnel in the flight should receive knives. The Airmen currently use their hands, personal knives or the one box cutter in the office.

The flight must cut open and inspect incoming boxes to ensure they have received the correct assets and quantities. Cervantes found he could collapse quadruple the number of boxes with a knife than he could with his bare hands.

“We came up with the idea of replacing the box cutter with knives since the box cutter is not as reliable as knives in the long term,” said Cervantes. “Box cutters have to be maintained more often. They dull easily and become dangerous if broken.”

The total cost of purchasing each flight member a knife would be $7,649.55. Each knife costs $169.99 and there are 45 members in the flight. The knives have a lifetime warranty and flight personnel intend to use them for the foreseeable future.

“The boxes we receive contain assets essential to supporting the ICBM mission,” said Cervantes. “These assets range from the wrenches that help maintain our missile systems to the weapons we use to protect them.”

Another flight, the 90 LRS Vehicle Maintenance Flight, focuses on servicing all of the government-owned vehicles operated at F.E. Warren AFB. This flight specializes in troubleshooting issues, making repairs and conducting preventative maintenance inspections.

Airman 1st Class Indigo Schultz, a mission generation vehicular equipment maintenance technician at 90 LRS VMF, works with the rest of his flight to ensure vehicles are in good working order and are ready to support the nuclear mission. He introduced the idea of using headlamps to improve efficiency and serviceability while working underneath vehicles.

“Not to be biased, but I believe the vehicle maintenance department is the backbone of this base,” Schultz. “We work to make sure the base’s vehicle fleet is safe and serviceable at all times.”

Airmen in 90 LRS VMF require flashlights while working underneath vehicles due to low visibility. Their current flashlights are not practical to help them complete their mission.

“As of now, we have magnetic flashlights which I’ve had quite a few unfavorable experiences with,” said Schultz. “The magnetic flashlights very often fail and end up falling down to potentially injure someone.”

The current flashlights require the user to occupy one hand to hold and manipulate the light while working, so work efficiency is decreased.

“When you need both hands to do the job, you need another person to come over and hold the light, pulling them away from their own job,” said Schultz. “If a single mechanic spends on average 15 to 20 minutes a day positioning and repositioning our current lights, and there are 50 mechanics in the office, it comes to an average of 5,323 wasted man hours a year.”

The headlamps 90 LRS VMF is seeking are worn on the forehead and feature different lighting modes as well as focusing and angling capabilities to increase visibility and efficiency.

“The aspect of having an extra hand will always be very helpful, because it allows us to utilize two tools, move one component out of the way while we reach another and free an arm for extra stability and support when leaning or bending into awkward positions,” said Shultz.

The headlamps will also increase safety over the magnetic flashlights by guaranteeing a secure mount to the Airmen’s foreheads.

“The straps on the headlamps are very secure, so the possibility of the light falling and causing an injury to occur is near impossible,” said Schultz.

The 90th Missile Wing is constantly evolving to accelerate change and ensure the mission of nuclear deterrence is executed seamlessly and without delay. Airmen on base are always encouraged to bring forward ideas that can increase efficiency and safety.

LaunchWERX is an on-base organization that allows Airmen to launch ideas. If you have an innovative idea – no matter how small or large – contact LaunchWERX at (307) 773-2028 or send an email to