Keesler’s Dragon Tank calls for innovation excellence Published Feb. 1, 2024 By Senior Airman Elizabeth Davis 81st Training Wing Public Affairs KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The 81st Training Wing is calling for innovation excellence through Dragon Tank, an idea contest launched earlier this month. A graphic for the 81st Training Wing Dragon Tank program lays out steps to entering the contest at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Feb. 1, 2024. The contest will use $200,000 of existing squadron innovation funds to foster a culture of innovation and develop effective solutions to improve the mission. (U.S. Air Force graphic by MyLien Nguyen) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res The contest, inspired by the Air Force’s Spark Tank, will use $200,000 of existing squadron innovation funds to foster a culture of innovation and develop effective solutions to improve the mission. Second Lt. Jimmy Nguyen, 81st Comptroller Squadron financial analysis flight commander, was inspired to bring this contest to Keesler after his own experience interning with Tesseract Air Force in college. “Their team, which is embedded into Headquarters Air Force, goes straight to the source to fund ideas from the Airmen in the field, flightline and warehouse,” said Nguyen. “With Dragon Tank, we can get after our mission and vision and tap into the creativity of the Airmen who perform the work every day.” Ideas submitted to Dragon Tank will be reviewed by representatives from finance, legal and contracting to determine feasibility. Innovators chosen to move to the next stage of the competition will then be given a chance to pitch their unique ideas in-person to a panel. After all pitches are complete, the winners will be revealed and will receive project funding. Previous projects that have been funded with squadron innovation funds include mobile tablets to transform technical training courses, ‘bugout kits’ for emergencies, updated technology for Command Post operations and more. “Whether you’re an Airman in finance or a civilian in vehicle maintenance, there’s a place for your ideas,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Venning, 81st TRW command chief. “There are no ‘dumb’ ideas. I encourage every member of Team Keesler to think about how they could improve the mission.” Submissions to Dragon Tank can be made via Keesler’s website no later than Feb. 23. All members of Team Keesler are highly encouraged to enter. “Dragon Tank empowers our Airmen, giving their voices the strength to resonate. Innovation knows no bounds and every idea matters. We anticipate your creative solutions and are excited to witness what our community will bring to the table," said Col. Billy Pope, Jr., 81st TRW commander.