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Sergeant sees dollar signs with his idea

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- Reading the fine print really paid off for one sergeant here. Staff Sgt. Neal Dion, a 364th Training Squadron aircraft systems instructor, received $10,000 for his submission to the Air Force IDEA program.

Sergeant Dion was a liaison for The Boeing Company in the KC-10 Extender program at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., when the maintenance contract changed from Raytheon Company to Boeing. The written contract listed all the equipment that would be transferred to Boeing, but it left out 50 KC-10 wheel assemblies.

These wheel assemblies are like the rims on a car that are surrounded by a tire.

"Anytime the plane had one beyond repair, Boeing would have to buy a new one if they weren't incorporated into the contract," Sergeant Dion said. "And they cost $6,300 each."

Sergeant Dion proposed the wheel assemblies be included in the contract so maintainers could use what the Air Force had already purchased.

"It was just lucky I found the mistake," Sergeant Dion said. "I was reading the contract, double-checking things and found it."

This lucky reading will save the Air Force about $105,000 a year.

For his insight and proposal, the sergeant was given the award. Sergeant Dion received his check in the mail, unaware his ideas had been accepted.

"I just looked at the check and didn't know what it was for," he said.

Once he found out, he put the money toward a new car, easing the stress of having one car for a four-person family. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)

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