Face of Defense: Airman’s Sharp Eye Saves Air Force $348K
By Air Force Senior Master Sgt. George Thompson
386th Air Expeditionary Wing
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Apr. 22, 2013 As Air Force officials seek to institute a culture change through the "Every Dollar Counts" campaign, one deployed airman's determination helped to save more than a third of a million dollars.
Air Force Master Sgt. Ernest Harrison, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, poses for a photo at the U.S. Army Logistics Civil Augmentation Program port in Southwest Asia, April 16, 2013. Harrison saved the Air Force more than $348,000 when he found a misplaced U-30 aircraft tow tractor that had mistakenly dropped off the inventory list during changeover with his predecessor. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Air Force Master Sgt. Ernest Harrison, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron transportation management office superintendent, was working his liaison officer duties at a host-nation port when something caught his eye.
"I saw this massive piece of equipment, but had no idea it was an Air Force asset," Harrison said. "My predecessor gave me a list of all the assets I needed to track, and this was not one of them."
The item in question, a 50-ton U-30 aircraft tow tractor, had somehow dropped off the inventory list during the changeover.
"Normally it's dark when I finish my work, but on this particular day, I finished early and took a couple of pictures of this thing," Harrison said. "I wrote down the weight and the tag number and sent it to the Air Forces Central guy in charge of all the vehicles in the region."
As it turns out, AFCENT was in the process of ordering a new U-30 to support the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing's C-17 operations.
"He wrote me back and said, 'Where did you find this thing?' and I said, 'It was sitting out here in the middle of a field all by itself,' and the best part was it started right up," Harrison said.
Harrison's detective work allowed AFCENT to cancel the equipment order and scratch the C-17 mission slated to transport the 100,000 pound U-30, saving the Air Force $348,571.73.
Though Harrison will not receive a monetary award, as do those who submit money-saving ideas through the Air Force’s Innovative Development Through Employee Awareness Program, he’s glad he was able to save his service a substantial sum.
"As you know, the budget is tight,” he said, “and just knowing I saved the Air Force this money is a great feeling."