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NEWS | Dec. 29, 2023

51st FW stands up innovation cell

By Airman 1st Class Chase Verzaal, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

With prioritizing innovation at the forefront of its strategic objectives, the 51st Fighter Wing marked a significant milestone by standing up its new wing innovation cell, the MustangWERX office, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 22, 2023.

This initiative signals a new era of enhanced capabilities and forward-thinking approaches within the wing.

"Innovation is not just a buzzword at the 51st FW, it's the backbone of our operational superiority and efficiency," said U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Davidson, 51st FW deputy wing commander. "Our Airmen's ability to transform creative ideas into tangible enhancements in manpower and resource utilization is essential. This innovative mindset is our greatest asset, equipping us with the agility and adaptability to meet any threat head-on."

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Connelly, 51st FW innovation officer, is at the forefront of the MustangWERX office. He emphasized that innovative thinking will be pivotal in resolving challenges, optimizing expenditures, and streamlining processes.

"The MustangWERX office is focused on process improvement,” said Connelly. “Our mission revolves around three key pillars: education, cultivation, and recognition. The focus is on harnessing these elements to better leverage the 51st FW’s limited resources, manpower, and finances. This is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge and staying ahead of evolving challenges."

Since its establishment, the WERX team has been fostering innovative thinking through various events, including a series of innovation sprints and problem identification training.

Sprints provide a platform for Osan Airmen to propose creative solutions and foster dialogue on enhancing mission effectiveness. These open forums are catalysts for encouraging innovative thinking across the base.

During problem identification training, participants engage in exercises to hone skills in recognizing issues within unfamiliar processes. This training is instrumental in educating base personnel on the most effective methods to identify problems.

“Throughout the Air Force, events like these are fostering change,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany Bell, 51st Munitions Squadron training supervisor. “By leveraging the insights of Airmen who face daily inefficiencies, we’re driving substantial improvements, and making a difference.”

Innovative initiatives are vital in enhancing efficiency and elevating the “Fight Tonight” mission. MustangWERX is quickly becoming a central pillar at Osan, marking a new era in the wing’s approach to problems and problem solving.

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