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14th FTW rolls out new innovative app for Airmen, families



COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - Since taking command of Columbus Air Force Base, Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, has made it clear that her mission for the wing is to Cultivate, Create and Connect.

“There is a Grand Canyon divide between ops and the rest of the base. How do we bridge that divide,” Weeks asked commanders during a wing staff meeting.

As a way to meet that challenge, Columbus AFB recently launched a new app to connect Airmen and families to the mission and community.

“The commander did not just say dream it up and add it to the good idea cloud,” said Maj. Tory Lodmell, 14th Flying Training Wing inspections planner. “She said be bold and execute. This is an integrated, immersive, and intuitive app meant to connect all of our Airmen.”

Lodmell and Lt Col. Ryan Sullivan, 14th Operations Group deputy commander, started planning an app initially intended for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training since the beginning of the year. At the time, commanders were being empowered by the chief of staff of the Air Force to utilize their own Squadron Innovation Funds for unit specific projects, which pulled focus away from the creation of a student training app. This delay ended up working in Lodmell and Sullivan’s favor, allowing their team to turn it into an all-encompassing Team BLAZE app.

The app is collaborative effort across three groups, 30 agencies and over 100 people taking part in the app working group. Everyone came together for one communal project. The app offers many icons that can benefit users including a Commander’s Corner where the wing commander and Chief Master Sgt. Raul Villareal Jr., 14th FTW command chief, can push their messages and observations out; a calendar that lists events happening on and off base; a flying ops icon, which will allows some mission planning to be completed on a mobile device; and much more.

“Our thoughts were ‘let’s take care of the capital “A” Airmen in our wing and help bring the community together,’” Lodmell said. “If our proof of concept works, we can really tackle the SUPT training experience.”

The app is available on all app stores and can be found by searching ‘Columbus Air Force Base.’ For help using the app, please visit the homepage on www.columbus.af.mil.

“This app is a bold step toward connecting Airmen throughout the base,” Weeks said. “I want to thank Maj. Lodmell, Lt. Col. Sullivan and the app team for putting in the countless hours it took to accomplish this. I believe this will benefit base personnel and their families immensely.”