Innovation office bringing Airmen’s ideas to life

Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Kristine Legate
Airmen with the 355th Wing innovation team pose for a photo beside an A-10 Thunderbolt II after performing a demonstration of an innovation tool at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., March 18, 2022. This innovation team has since become the 355th Wing Innovation Office and is bringing Airmen’s ideas to life.

At Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., Lightning Spark, the 355th Wing Innovation Office, began their mission to shorten the rescue and attack processes, through innovation in July 2021.

In June 2022, a charter was signed that officially made the 355th WIO a Wing Staff Agency as well as defined its roles, responsibilities and rules. This allows Lightning Spark to quickly respond to unit-level innovation initiatives and supply resources, aiding in bringing Airmen’s ideas to life.

The 355th WIO provides Airmen across the installation an outlet to share their innovative ideas, network with others, create prototypes and more. Additionally, it offers innovation education, training opportunities and contacts to external resources.

Air Force graphic
A logo was created for Lightning Spark, the 355th Wing Innovation Office. The 355th WIO provides Airmen across the installation an outlet to share their innovative ideas, network with others, create prototypes and more.

AFWERX, a technology directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, assists Airmen in developing their innovative ideas. Two of DM’s innovation projects, that predate the creation of the innovation office, have been accepted to the AFWERX Refinery Program, which grants them additional funding and testing.

Lightning Spark was established to help expedite all innovated ideas or tools in the Davis-Monthan area from the bottom to the top levels of the chain-of-command,” said Tech. Sgt. Arrec Chetwood, 355th WIO deputy of innovation. “We are here to help move projects along with our network of resources.”

Chetwood was nominated to join the 355th WIO after being recognized by his supervisors for doing extensive research on innovative projects that could potentially make repairing A-10 Thunderbolt II’s more efficient. Chetwood officially joined the innovation office full time in January 2022.

Air Force graphic
A QR code was created by the 355th Wing Innovation Office to provide easy access to their website.

“I love watching new projects go through all stages of production,” said Chetwood. “I am excited to come to work every day and help make a difference.”

The 355th WIO is excited to hear innovative ideas from Davis-Monthan Airmen of all ranks and assist them with every step of the process. If you have innovative ideas or are interested in being a part of the innovation office, contact 355WG.LS.355WingInnovation@us.af.mil or dmspark@gmail.com.

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