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Master Sgt. Vic Francis Receives $2,500 Award

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York -- On January 7, 2011, a member of the 174th Fighter Wing received $2,500 from the Department of Defense for making a suggestion that saved the military money.

The award was given to Master Sgt. Victor Francis, a metals technician with the 174th Fighter Wing's Maintenance Group. The suggestion originated during a "Val/Ver" conducted last year. A Val/Ver is a verification process that is designed to ensure that aircraft components function properly before installation on the aircraft. The specific component involved was a static port kit which is installed on the side of a MQ-9 Reaper and measures pressure around the aircraft.

During that Val/Ver , Hancock Field received static port kits that didn't work properly. "The kits that we received when installed on the aircraft would just fall right off," according to Master Sgt. Francis. Once the Val/Ver was completed there remained the problem of the faulty kits. Master Sgt. Francis stepped up and made several changes to the static port kit which improved the kit and solved the problem.

Each static port kit costs approximately $18,000 and every MQ-9 needs a kit to operate. Master Sgt. Francis spent about 8-10 hours and used roughly $300 to rebuild the kit.
This is not the first time that Master Sgt. Francis has come across something that needed improvement. "We run across problems like this all the time, and we fix them." This time around, someone told him he should submit his suggestion to the Air Force. He did just that and his suggestion will now be used throughout the Air Force. "That's what we do."

The suggestion program was implemented in 1943. It rewards military as well as civilian workers. Once a suggestion is submitted, a subcommittee reviews each proposal and is authorized to award between $200 and $10,000. The suggestion program receives roughly 10,000 suggestions annually.