PMEL puts precision equipment in place

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jacob R. McCarthy
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
How well would an F-22 put bombs on target with its head-up display on the fritz? How fast could an A-10 get to a firefight with its navigation system out of whack? How fair would it be if an Airman wasn't weighed properly during a physical training assessment?

For Airmen at the Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory, the answers to these questions are what make their job so important to Nellis' mission.

On any given day, Nellis PMEL technicians use their metrology skills (the science of weights and measures) to calibrate a wide range of test measurement and diagnostic equipment vital to weapon systems for nearly all Air Force aircraft.

"Everything in a weapon system requires calibration," explained Chief Master Sgt. Mike McGreevy, 57th Component Maintenance Squadron, maintenance superintendent. "PMEL acts as the foundation for every maintenance Airman."

Without PMEL calibrating tools for the flightline, Airmen would not get aircraft to function properly. PMEL is the baseline quality assurance for the whole Air Force, said Chief McGreevy.

The importance of such a critical mission can be seen when the Air Force calls on its Airmen to take the job on the road to support contingency operations.

Airmen from Nellis' laboratory currently make up more than a quarter of PMEL techs tapped for operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

One thing that keeps PMEL techs on-point to handle a variety of different tasks is how Airmen bring a "jack-of-all-trades" mentality to the job, said Master Sgt. Dennis Strehlow, TMDE Flight, assistant flight chief. "PMEL Airmen need to know a little about all the systems they work on in order to do the job right," he continued.

Not only do PMEL Airmen provide support in theater, they keep up the same pace stateside.

In addition to supporting Nellis and Creech, PMEL lends a hand to its sister services as well.

Nellis PMEL Airmen support tactical aviation training for Sailors at Naval Air Station Fallon just east of Reno, as well as Soldiers and Marines at Fort Irwin in California.

The lab also aids in combating drug interdiction and counter-terrorism with the Nevada National Guard.

Most important is the support given to the Airmen right here at home station. PMEL calibrates equipment for nearly every organization on base.

Nellis is not alone in its mission to keep the Air Force fleet fighting. Since the 1950's, in a combined effort between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Air Force Metrology and Calibration Program, the Air Force has established more than 60 PMELs across the U.S., with a total of more than 75 PMELs worldwide.

The scope of PMEL's mission can seem limitless at times. But for one 27-year lab veteran, the mission is quite clear--"PMEL puts the precision in the most advanced weapon systems in the world."