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Hand-picked: Air Force selects Reserve Citizen Airmen to lead maintenance app development

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Airman First Class Jerry Olivan, 924th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, works on an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. The 924th was recently selected to beta-test the new Battle Record Information Core Environment app for maintainers. (Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --

Aircraft maintainers from the Air Force Reserve’s 924th Fighter Group have been hand selected to beta-test the new Battle Record Information Core Environment application for the entire Air Force.

Maj. Gen. Cedric D. George, the Air Force’s director of logistics, visited the 924th FG at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in late March, about a year after maintainers from the 924th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron were charged with testing the BRICE app. George called the squadron “unapologetically visionary.”

The BRICE app is an iOS-approved application that brings technical data, forms and other tools to Airmen on the flight line on a tablet. The app saves maintainers from having to walk back and forth to the tool crib or office for computer access, improving flight readiness and data entry, and shortening turnaround time for routine maintenance.

“Our Airmen are empowered to make decisions at the lowest levels and are encouraged to tell us what they need to get the mission done,” said Col. Brian Cusson, 924th FG commander. “We’ve built this fighter group from scratch and the Air Force picked the perfect squadron to demonstrate how to bring the future faster.”

Reserve Citizen Airmen at the 924th are dedicated to innovation and reforming the organization, using new technology to shorten maintenance production times and reduce costs by improving efficiency.

“Since the beginning, our folks have always leveraged innovation to do more with less while optimizing the advantages of our seamless total force maintenance team here at DM,” Cusson said.

The total force effort combines the talents of active-duty Airmen, Reservists, civilian employees and government contractors from Amazon Web Services, Apple, Verizon, Monkton and other companies that are providing the architecture and hardware for BRICE. The app is supported by the Defense Information Systems Agency, Air Force headquarters and AFRC logistics offices that manage the program.

After experimenting with the app for about a year, the maintainers were invited to provide direct feedback to George and his development team about their experiences and ideas for improvement.

Initial testing was limited to 150 users who were issued BRICE-loaded iPads. They used it every day during the first test phase. Seventy-eight percent of users said the tool reduced their travel time by one to two hours per job and said the tool was easy to use.

Preliminary costs savings are estimated at about $8,500 per year, per maintainer, according to Christopher W. Butigieg, AFRC logistics program manager.

George said he and his development team need the talents of Davis-Monthan’s Airmen on the ground to make BRICE a viable solution for the entire Air Force. He encouraged Reserve Citizen Airmen to not only provide their ideas and experiences, but also to learn code and write their own applications in the future.

The team said new applications should be fast and simple and should do only one or two tasks extremely well. The goal is to have Airmen ready and equipped with the tools they need completely mobile and secure.

“My job is to leverage data,” George said. “The right data leads to the right decision, and this team at Davis-Monthan is crucial to me and my team in getting this app right.”

He praised the members of the 924th AMXS for their hard work. “You are our future,” he said. “You will optimize our Air Force and I thank you for your insight and your service.”

The 924th FG is a geographically separated unit of the 944th Fighter Wing, located at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The unit-equipped fighter group is responsible for half of the Air Force’s A-10 pilot training mission. The Total Force effort at Davis-Monthan includes active and classic associations with the active-duty Air Force’s 355th Wing, including the 355th Fighter Group and the 355th Maintenance Group.

(Mingledorff is assigned to the 355th Wing public affairs office.)

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