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Innovative Airman Cuts Costs

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea -- While the Defense Department faces tightening budgets and fiscal restraints, one Airman is developing innovative ways to save money and accomplish the mission.

Staff Sgt. Lucas Morrow, a broadcaster with American Forces Network-Osan, uses recycled items, a small budget and big ideas to create broadcasting equipment that improves and streamlines AFN's video production capabilities. His inventions cost about $4 dollars each, but they save the Air Force thousands.

AFN broadcasters provide timely television and radio broadcasts to more than 60,000 DOD servicemembers, dependents and civilians in the South Korea. These broadcasters also provide command and community news as well as information about important issues concerning U.S. Forces Korea.

"Complaining about what you need or want is not going to make it happen," Morrow said. "I enjoy making things, so I decided make something to improve work."

Morrow has completed three items so far -- a camera stabilizing mount, body camera mount and camera slide. He researched the basic components on the internet and made modifications using the resources he had. He purchased PVC pipe from a local vendor and used discarded supplies from other offices. Recycled items include metal shelving and plating, nuts and bolts, wire, string and duct tape. It took five days to complete all three projects.

"I learn from watching other people work with the cool, expensive toys on movie sets," Morrow said. "It's all about seeing what you like in a film and then trying to find out how you can recreate that million dollar shot, or inspire your own, with a budget of a couple of dollars. With the new equipment, we will be able to capture action more accurately."

The designs, which cost a total of $12 dollars to construct, saved the AFN-Osan office and Air Force an estimated $7,000 dollars.

"The new equipment additions will improve our overall mission products," said Army Sgt. Joshua Rieder, a maintainer. Rieder helped Morrow build the equipment.

Morrow said most of his inspiration for building comes from his step-father and grandfather.

"They're my biggest inspirations and role models," the eight-year broadcaster said. "They both have an amazing ability to take discarded everyday objects and turn them into something useful."

It's all trial and error, Morrow said.

"That's the only way I can learn," he said. "If what I build falls apart, then obviously I did it wrong. But when it works, it's time to make some movies."

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