335th TRS PMEL course teaches precision
By Michael Gainey, 335th Training Squadron
/ Published May 14, 2014
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- In 1821, John Quincy Adams said, "Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessities of life to every individual of human society." He understood the importance of precision and accuracy when it came to commerce, navigation and the operations of war.
This is also the mission of the Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory career field. PMEL training in the 335th Training Squadron is a 963-hour course teaching calibration in electronics, physical, dimensional, optical, chemical or mechanical. PMEL graduates join a career field of approximately 800 Air Force members dedicated to keeping military test measurement and diagnostic equipment in the most reliable condition, whether it is a passenger terminal weighing scale or laser guided missile tester.
Along with the intense training these students receive in their career field, they are mentored in the squadron's three Cs: courage, competence and core values.
Courage for the PMEL technician is the resolution to ensure that every measurement, adjustment and calibration is to the highest standard. No piece of equipment leaves the laboratory that doesn't meet the calibration requirements needed by their fellow Air Force members or sister service members. Failure to adhere to the mission requirements of pinpoint accuracy could lead to mission degradation or failure.
Competence for PMEL technicians ensures they are knowledgeable of the capabilities, limitations, operations, design characteristics and functional use of a variety of types and models of physical and electronic equipment. A strict knowledge and adherence to the Air Force Instructions and Technical Orders are a must. Improper readings by electronic test equipment or incorrect force exerted by an improperly calibrated tool could lead to damaged equipment or personnel injury.
Core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do are the cornerstones of the PMEL career field. Integrity first is vital as each PMEL technician documents the equipment they calibrate with their stamp, signifying that equipment meets all the required calibration parameters.
The PMEL technician must employ service before self when asked to perform an emergency calibration to be completed immediately, regardless of the time or day, because a flying mission is impeded until the test equipment has been validated.
PMEL technicians strive for excellence in every aspect of their duties, because their mission is critical to the Air Force's overall success.