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MTANG enlisted seek solutions to problems

Master Sgt. Christina Hutchins discusses a small-group project during the communication training exercise at the enlisted continuing process improvement event held at the 120th Fighter Wing in Great Falls, Mont. on Nov. 2, 2013. National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Christy Mason.

Master Sgt. Christina Hutchins discusses a small-group project during the communication training exercise at the enlisted continuing process improvement event held at the 120th Fighter Wing in Great Falls, Mont. on Nov. 2, 2013. National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Christy Mason.

Tech. Sgt. Paul Gallardo participates in a communication training exercise during the enlisted continuing process improvement event held at the 120th Fighter Wing in Great Falls, Mont. on Nov. 2, 2013. National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Christy Mason.

Tech. Sgt. Paul Gallardo participates in a communication training exercise during the enlisted continuing process improvement event held at the 120th Fighter Wing in Great Falls, Mont. on Nov. 2, 2013. National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Christy Mason.

Great Falls, Mont. -- The 120th Fighter Wing held an enlisted continuing process improvement event during the November unit training assembly.

The event was open to all enlisted members of the 120th Fighter Wing and the 219th RED HORSE Squadron and was designed to solicit ideas from the Airmen that could lead to process improvements in the Montana Air National Guard.

The idea to hold the event originated with five MTANG enlisted members who attended the Air National Guard Enlisted Force Challenges Process Improvement Event held in Tulsa, Okla. in 2012. The Airmen believed the process they observed at the national event could be put to good use at the unit level. They presented a plan for a local event and it was approved by senior leadership.

The program organizers had identified perceived problems in Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) training programs, Professional Military Education (PME) testing and the retention and recognition programs that the group could address. As each issue was discussed, facilitators logged the comments and solutions offered from members of the group into a computer.

"We took some topics that we feel we need to look at and improve on for the betterment of our enlisted personnel," said Senior Master Sgt. Beverly Christian, an event organizer who serves as the 120FW Financial Management Superintendent. "It was an opportunity for us to get together, brainstorm and come up with some solutions that we can present to leadership."

At the end of the event the suggestions for improvement were compiled by the facilitators. The results were then briefed to senior leadership during an officer's call that was held near the end of the duty day.

The Airmen that participated in the event were pleased that senior leaders were sincerely interested in hearing their process-improvement ideas.

"I think we really did a good job working on our solutions and that was actually the good part about having such a big group of people with a lot of different experiences and rank," said 120th Logics Readiness Squadron Senior Airman Corrie Chaffin. People that have worked in the civilian world for 20 or 30 years brought different experiences than I have experienced as a young Airman."

The program was designed to allow Airmen to attend as their work schedule allowed. Christian estimates that during the peak of the participation as many as 40 Airmen attended the event.

The event ended with participants taking part in a communication training exercise designed to highlight the different strengths and motivations possessed by the Airmen.
Christian said that she would like to see this enlisted feedback provided to senior leadership continue.

"We'd love to do something in the future. We know there's always going to be issues and there's so much change going on all the time," said Christian. "It's a lot easier to put our heads together and try to come up with solutions as a team and make some change than it is just on an individual basis. So I see this being something that we'll do down the road."
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