PMEL opens new facility
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Airmen from the 51st Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory celebrated this week with the opening of a brand new facility here on Sept. 9.
The new building is 5,461 sq. ft., 1650 sq. ft. larger than the last, improving efficiency, capacity and safety. It cost $6.8 million and was funded by the Ministry of Defense, ROK to replace the original facility built in 1969.
"The new facility will save approximately $1,500 and 40+ man hours per month by eliminating some of the deficiencies the old facility had, including lighting, environmental control and floor space," said Senior Master Sgt. Leo Gujski, 51st MXS PMEL flight chief. "Previously, those deficiencies had been noted during every evaluation by the Air Force Metrology and Calibration certification team since 1994."
PMELs are certified by the AFMETCAL once every two years. The purpose of evaluating a PMEL for certification is to assess the capability of the laboratory to perform measurements that are safe, accurate, reliable and traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST is one of the nation's oldest physical science laboratories. Congress established the agency to remove a major handicap to U.S. industrial competitiveness at the time.
"In addition, to the deficiencies, there was no customer drop-off area at the old facility," he continued. "Customers would have to walk up two flights of stairs with their equipment, causing potential safety hazards."
The new facility is also the first and only collection protective system facility in the maintenance squadron here.
The CPS is a standby system within designated facilities that is activated when there is a chemical or biological threat. The CPS function is also used for facility occupants and shelter management team training during exercises.
"The facility provides our maintainers unmatched protection and our customers' supreme mission sustainment," said Gujski.
The PMEL flight here has 24 personnel assigned. They provide support for more than 100 agencies across the 51st Fighter Wing, associated units and geographically separated agencies across the Korean Peninsula.
"I've been here at Osan for three months and I can say this has been the best PMEL I've been to in my six years in the Air Force," said Staff Sgt. Christian Hubbard, 51st MXS PMEL craftsman. "We have all of the equipment and standards we need to support more than 5,300 pieces of test measurement and diagnostic equipment.
"This allows us to maintain measurement tractability according to the NIST."
The new space allows more room to calibrate and troubleshoot test measurement and diagnostic equipment.
"We deal with accuracy down to millionths of an inch, nano-volts and even measuring into consideration the earth's gravitational pull," said Hubbard.
Once the equipment is successfully repaired or calibrated, it is returned to the scheduling section to await customer pick up and returned to the flight line, hospital or another organization.
"With the advancement of technology and the reliance on precision guided munitions, also unmanned vehicles accuracy is crucial to maintain those resources," said Gujski. "The precision of those instruments alone lies directly on our technicians shoulders."
"Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessities of life to every individual of human society," said John Quincy Adams, former U.S. president. "They are key to all the exchanges of peace and to all the operations of war."