PMEL contractors still 'bleed blue'

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Greg Nash
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

For some, hanging up the uniform doesn’t take away one’s desire to serve. Still embodying this passion is a group of prior enlisted maintainers, who continue to ‘bleed blue.’

‘One team, no seam’ is the motto of the 23d Component Maintenance Squadron’s Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory, where a team of contractors calibrated maintenance efforts reintegrates them into the mission.

“There’s no greater feeling than being a part of the team and a part of the fight,” said Walter Truax, 23d CMS PMEL site manager.” It’s one of the reasons why after retiring as a chief master sergeant, I still felt compelled to serve. I loved being a former PMEL Airman and I get a chance to do those same things on a daily basis, now."

The PME Lab’s daily operations consists of repairing, calibrating and modifying approximately 7,500 test, measurement and diagnostic equipment items. They service more than 90 work centers for Team Moody and the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard.

“We service anyone who needs accurate measurements for physical, dimensional and electronical testable equipment,” said Truax. “We appreciate our customers bringing in their testable equipment to be accurately measured to perform their operations. As prior enlisted maintainers, we miss the Air Force camaraderie when we see the Airmen in action.

“We love supporting our warfighters because without their mission, there wouldn’t be a need for the lab. We like that they can depend on us and we depend on them,” Truax added.

The PMEL is relied on to calibrate an average of 700 pieces of equipment and machinery per month. Truax says that the lab’s ability to reduce the turn-around times for these required maintenance tasking’s by more than half helps the lab prepare for Moody’s increased workload surges for calibration needs.

“We embrace the challenges of our uncontrolled calibration tasks because we understand the Airmen’s mission and needs,” said Truax. “At any time, equipment can experience wear and tear and malfunction. [For certain discrepancies and equipment standardizations] our work centers need early, expedited and emergency requests where we can help them. Because of our helping hand, the 23d Maintenance Group and 23d Wing as a whole has taken great care of us and integrated us into the fold.

“This continued support has been awesome and it feels like we’re still in the fight,” Truax added. “We’re all about getting the mission done no matter the increased work hours or demands, because we’ve been in those shoes before as Airmen.”

This familiarity has greatly benefitted Danny Brodeur, former 23d Equipment Maintenance Squadron material management superintendent, who retired from Moody in 2011. Now, as the 23d CMS PME Lab support services technician, he attempts to get Airmen to understand the equipment, their discrepancies, and how to ensure their serviceability through customer service and feedback.

As he does this, he looks forward to servicing those with familiar and new faces.

“It’s always good to see old friends and co-workers come by the lab to deliver and pick-up equipment,” said Brodeur. “Seeing the younger Airmen makes me reminisce and miss the camaraderie of being in the service. I’ve done my time but keep my esprit de corps lives through them. I love being a part of the mission and my job allows me to feel like it’s one team, one fight, one team, no seam.”