MacDill Bolt Cell wins General Larry O. Spencer award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Derrick Bole
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing

The MacDill Bolt Cell recently won the Gen. Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award and was named Air Mobility Command’s best Sparks Cell for their innovative leadership within the wing.

The Bolt Cell solved 43 problems brought to them by Airmen and partnered for $10.5 million in grants from the 18th Numbered Air Force to be selected for this award.

Sparks Cells allow Airmen to pose problems within their unit and provides solutions and funding to make their jobs easier.

“Our number one priority is you [Airmen],” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Taylor Johnston, 6th Air Refueling Wing chief of innovations. “We want to solve Airmen’s problems with either tech, money or process. If you come to us with a problem, we’ll help you solve it.”

The Bolt Cell is ready to help the wing for years going forward starting with adding drone deployment capabilities to the KC-135 Stratotanker.

“We had a big year in 2022, and we’re going to keep it going,” said Master Sgt. Eric Holton, 6th ARW Bolt Cell senior enlisted leader. “We’ve got big plans. Right now, we’re the lead wing in developing a prototype that provides a means for the KC-135 to house and deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

The KC-135 is currently in the process of being replaced by the KC-46 Pegasus, but the Bolt Cell is trying to keep the aircraft in use by giving it more abilities than refueling other aircraft. They are using parts of older KC-135s from Fairchild AFB to begin work on the project.

“I am amazed at the things [the Bolt Cell] can pull off,” said Col. Adam Bingham, 6th ARW commander. “The fact that we were able to bring KC-135 parts down from Fairchild and, within less than eight weeks, we were able to provide the AMC commander a brief on ‘here’s the way forward, here’s what we do next’ will never cease to amaze me.”


Contact the Bolt Cell at (813) 828-8152 or visit their office in Hangar 4.