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Calibration fascination: PMEL’s role in the fight

By Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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The 2nd Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory plays an important role in helping Airmen fulfill the mission of the B-52 Stratofortress by providing maintenance and calibration to instruments used not only on the flight line, but across the base.

PMEL is the office everyone on base uses, but very few know about; they are responsible for calibrating measuring equipment such as gauges, thermometers and more for the base and surrounding units.

“We ensure that everything is calibrated to a set standard since equipment can be impacted due to numerous factors such as temperature or extended use,” said Kevin Miller, 2nd MXS PMEL site manager. “We are also the experts on the equipment, so we can teach Airmen more about the instruments they bring in.”

The team members are fine-tuned at their craft, and find joy where others would not.

“We love a day where we are given messed up equipment,” Miller said with a laugh. “Our customers don’t like coming in, but we like to fix the issue at hand, make it better again and send them back on their way with the satisfaction of knowing their equipment is mission ready.”

The office is comprised of two main sections, with a few subsections in each.

“There’s the K1-4 side which is electronic measurement equipment and the K5-6 side which is physical and linear measurement equipment,” Miller said. “We have such a great team and we are all proficient in each category, but we do love our specialties.”

One technician was able to explain the differences.

“If you can see it (measuring equipment or instrument), feel it and touch it and it shocks you, then it would be the electrical side,” said Roy Ginn, 2nd MXS PMEL technician. “On our side if you touch something you’ll either get burned or you explode.”

Ginn is responsible for checking instruments that measure pressure and other physical and linear fields.

“Our side deals with pressure, temperature, length and scales,” Ginn said. “We impact a lot more of the base than people realize. We make sure tire pressure gauges are accurate and scales at the gym aren’t lying. If a scale at the gym is off five pounds, wouldn’t you want it to be fixed?”

PMEL’s area of responsibility covers almost any shop on base.

“The base really can’t test or measure anything without getting it checked through us,” Ginn said. “Our equipment must be accurate to a certain measurement so the Airmen can go out there confident that their measurement is correct.”

PMEL’s responsibility impacts maintainers and helps fulfill the wings mission to put the B-52 Stratofortress in the air.

“I honestly love being able to work for Barksdale,” Ginn said with a smile. “The B-52 is a powerful aircraft and it can’t properly operate without us.”

“At this rate, the B-52 and I might retire at the same time,” Ginn added.

With a good crew, good training and a passion for the job, PMEL technicians keep Barksdale‘s measurements on track.