MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Everyone wants to be a part of a positive change and the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen put into action an innovative idea that allowed cargo to be rolled from the aircraft onto pallets of a K-Loader.
5th LRS Airmen came up with the idea to modify a 463L Aircraft Pallet by attaching rollers in order to efficiently support multiple missions at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, the modification was readily adopted into their standards of operation.
Maj. Sarah McNair, 5th LRS commander, said the new pallets allowed the assets to be moved approximately 50-60 percent faster as well as reducing the amount of personnel needed on the K-loader and truck to unload the cargo by 50-60 percent as well.
“This idea is now being looked to be utilized by Air Mobility Command for many different applications of their mission sets and operations across the Air Force,” said McNair. “It will also be likely used at other installations supporting the Department of Energy missions in ways we do here at Minot. McNair said their team is not only impacting the Air Force but the DOE as well.”
Some of their cargo can typically weigh around 120 - 130 lbs. “As you can imagine, rolling cargo cans that weigh over a hundred pounds over gaps and floor dents, lifting up and down from one surface to another takes time and a lot of manpower to be done efficiently and safely.
McNair said they developed the idea to affix rollers to the top of the pallets, removing the D-rings along the sides of the pallet.
Normally the Air Force’s aircraft pallets are a smooth surface to build and ship cargo on through airlift.
“Once the rollers were in place, they would no longer have to struggle to move the individual cargo pieces,” said McNair.
Tech. Sgt. Aaron Luetzen, 5th LRS air terminal operations NCO, said the sight of Airmen bearing the unsavory weather conditions for the sake of the mission was disheartening.
“I knew that there is absolutely a better way that business could be handled. It just took a little problem solving to redesign the current operations within the parameters that were in my control,” said Luetzen.
After running it up through his chain of command, the idea was approved.
“We were able to modify these pallets with attaching rollers in order to efficiently change the way we can work missions,” said Luetzen. “This is the first time these modified pallets have ever been used.”
“It really goes to show that we as Airmen have a voice to make things happen if we can give our leaders valid answers and justification,” Luetzen said.
McNair thought it was exciting to see how this unfolded from a simple idea to a working asset.
“To know that others are taking this idea and running with it in the Air Force to see how it can be used for so much more than just our one use [is exciting],” McNair said. “In this case, the response has been very positive with Luetzen being chosen to support this idea at the [Air Mobility Command] level.”
“To be a part of something that could directly change how my career field operates in a magnitude of different mission types is great,” said Luetzen. “I challenge others to take the step to bring their ideas to light, because it was a rather simple process once the ball started rolling,”