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NEWS | Feb. 16, 2022

87th Logistics Readiness Squadron Cleans up a Dirty Job

By Airman 1st Class Sergio Avalos 87th Air Base Wing

In preparation for future fights and fiscal challenges, the 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron material management flight began the pilot phase of testing innovative solutions for sanitizing deployment gear.

On Nov. 23, the 87th Material Management Flight, Individual Protective Equipment (IPE) section, conducted their first test on a sleeping bag that had recently returned from a deployment via a shipping container equipped with a 10-lb ozone generator inside. The ozone molecule is a reactive gas compound that is found in earth’s atmosphere where it filters out harmful ultraviolet rays.

“The generator uses the ozone molecule to replace oxygen,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Dana Horn, 87th LRS IPE officer in charge. “Thereby, killing any type of organism that relies on oxygen to thrive and sanitizing the equipment in the process.” 

According to Horn, current methods of sanitizing deployment gear consist of either a laundry contract service that costs approximately $1.5 million per year, or an industrial-sized washer and dryer that are cumbersome in both weight and size.

“This innovative process is more cost efficient,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Adriane M. Pope, 87th LRS IPE noncommissioned officer in charge. “It’s also a time saver as opposed to having to wash the items for a two hour wash cycle, this process shortens it down to 30 minutes. From our tests so far, I see its efficiency and I look forward to it cutting down my team's workload.”

The 87th Material Management Flight is awaiting further professional studies in order to have this sanitation process approved for use across the U.S. Air Force.

“We’re working with higher-headquarters at AMC and A4 to source studies with their engineers,’’ said Horn. “This is also to ensure that this ozone molecule doesn’t degrade the real world aspects of real world gear.”

It is paramount for air and space operations to continue to innovate in order to sustain a force capable of future conflicts.

“Now we have a process that’s going to enable the IPE section to be able to sanitize and issue required items to members,” said Pope. “This innovation improves the process in order to be combat ready.”