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Illustration for Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Illustration for Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Damon Kasberg/U.S. Air Force)

RAF MILDENHALL, England — The 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base has won the first-place prize of $250,000 in the Innovation Madness tournament for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa.

Among the ideas that netted the 86th the top prize is the adjustment of local nationals’ schedules to avoid weekend and holiday work, which has resulted in an annual savings of more than $700,000, USAFE-AFAFRICA said. Another innovation is the repair of aircraft communication cords in-house rather than outside the Air Force logistics network, which saves more than $120,000 per year,

Ramstein officials also developed a way to train some medical personnel on base, saving a at least $140,000 per year in travel expenses.

Ramstein has no plans yet on how the prize money will be spent, Brig. Gen. Patrick X. Mordente, commander of the 86th, said.

“What I can promise you is that money will be reinvested back into this wing, back into our airmen and their families,” he said.

Judges in the contest examined cost-saving changes that wings throughout USAFE-AFAFRICA implemented in the past two years.

This is the first year USAFE-AFAFRICA has held the contest.


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