MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Airmen deploy all the time, leaving their work centers behind. But what if the Airman stayed and their work centers deployed?
The Air Force has two deployable Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratories (PMEL) called a Rapid Assistance Support for Calibration (RASCAL) unit. And Mountain Home Air Force Base is trusted with one of them.
Early in the first quarter of 2019, the 366th Component Maintenance Squadron’s Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) Flight restored, decomplexed, packed and loaded their RASCAL to deploy to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, in support of what they called Operation Restore Paradise.
The TMDE flight and PMEL assigned to this task now belong to the 366th Munitions Squadron.
“A RASCAL has about 16 measurement areas that is confined to a few shipping containers,” said Tech. Sgt. Jaime L. Gardiner, 366th MUNS TMDE quality manager. “But our RASCAL’s greatest advantage is the ability to deploy anywhere in the world, critically optimizing readiness.”
However, this RASCAL had not deployed in 10 years and was in a degraded state. So the TMDE Flight sprang into action when MUNS received the call for the RASCAL to deploy to JBPHH.
“The process of restoration and preparation was a huge undertaking done with extreme attention to detail in very small amount of time,” Gardiner said. “I walked 7-8 miles a day going back and forth to ensure everything was ready to go.”
The team adapted to overcome obstacles by fabricating custom metalwork and aircraft shipping pallets for the containers, identifying and resolving several electrical power generation issues, packing and securing equipment while simultaneously logging inventory of 150 line items.
The RASCAL shipped off on two C-17 Globemasters III with a five-member team to lead the initial set-up to ensure the receiving units were postured for success.
“Turning this decade-old, mothballed concept from a whistlepig graveyard into the Air Force’s only fully operational mobile PMEL took these Airmen an entire year of hard-work, creativity and dedication,” said Maj. Jonathan T. Hoefing, 366th MUNS commander. “In addition, this would absolutely not have been possible without the critical, unwavering support of the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 366th Maintenance Squadron personnel throughout the entire restoration and deployment effort.”
Since January 2019, the RASCAL has been at JBHH supporting Operation DEEP FREEZE in Antarctica, Wake Island, Midway Island and sister services. Collectively, the RASCAL enabled JBHH PMEL to support the calibration of 5,000 assets during construction of their PMEL facility.
Operation Restore Paradise has been an important step into the future of exploring the adaptive basing concept, said Master Sgt. Jason A. Degrasse, 366th MUNS TMDE laboratory NCO in charge.
“Imagine having mobile maintenance complexes from every squadron so that we can pick up and set down an Air Force base anywhere we want,” Gardiner said. “That is the power of adaptive basing.”
Hoefing expressed his thoughts on the team and their achievements, “I honestly couldn’t be more proud of them! This is what happens when you empower squadrons and unleash our Airmen on a problem. It’s a shining example of the Gunfighter spirit that is right now having a positive, tangible impact across the Air Force.”