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Train New, Work Smart

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is home to a variety of teams, all with different missions. One such team is the Infinity Spark Innovation Lab, a center for service members to explore ideas, gain resources and support to improve their work centers and career fields.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Devin Bable, 305th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron integrated communications navigation system craftsman, worked with the Innovation Lab to realize one of his concepts; to bring technology to the forefront of training, and to give Airmen more confidence operating mission essential systems.

“These sorts of programs are very important to our Airmen,” said Bable. “It gives them something that they can do to not only improve themselves, but also improve the Air Force.”

Another advocate for innovation, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Austin Barkdoll, 305th Maintenance Group senior process manager, speaks on his experience with Bable and pursuing innovative projects within the Air Force.

“I worked with Bable at the Joint Base Charleston C-17 Field Training Detachment as an instructor for 3 years; and during that time Bable created a computer-based C-17 maintenance training aid that allowed instructors to input avionic and non-avionic faults onto the mission computer display,” said Barkdoll. “Situations like these are evidence that Airmen have amazing skills and abilities that don’t necessarily align with their AFSC. Spark Cells across the AF are tapping into bases’ talent pool to facilitate solutions to problems.”

The program that Bable is developing at Joint Base MDL aims to identify “pain points” in the training pipeline for maintenance Airmen.

“Various computer systems on the aircraft can sometimes be very difficult to interact with or hard to understand,” said Bable. “When it comes to training, we need to have a good way to simulate it without necessarily having the equipment available to do so.”

Bable hopes that the training program that he developed can be further applied to different career fields and inspire innovation and creativity within the Air Force.

“It's one of those things that all other squadrons can be involved in as well,” said Bable. “This program in particular helps improve the confidence of our Airmen, and the goal is to focus on not only improving the confidence for the airman to operate those systems, but also reduce failure rate in testing.”

With the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus projected to arrive on Joint Base MDL, Bable hopes that the training program he created can encourage a new, adaptive mindset.

“If we can establish the mindset now that we can design better training and do something innovative, we can start applying that on day one of the KC-46 arriving at the Joint Base,” said Bable. “Being able to be creative at the local innovation labs and spark cells is a huge driving factor for me. We can use talents and skill sets that I or another individual have, and apply those to solving problems.”