By DoD News
By Staff Sgt. Levi Riendeau
Iraqi airmen expanded their maintenance capabilities at New Al-Muthana Air Base, Iraq, after wrapping up a three-week U.S. Air Force training session on a new torque-wrench calibration system.
Iraqi air force officials recently purchased the calibration system so maintainers here could become self-sufficient and cut long-term costs.
“It costs more money for (the Iraqis) to send the tool back to the (U.S.) to get calibrated than it does to just buy new tools,” said Master Sgt. Joel Desjardin, a member of the 4th Maintenance Group. “With this capability, instead of spending $160 for a brand new torque wrench, they can calibrate the tools themselves.”
Sergeant Desjardin and his coworker Staff Sgt. Gary Holifield, who is also from the 4th MG, were recruited by Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air officials to deploy here for three weeks to train Iraqi airmen to use the calibration system.
“The first day or so we thought it was going to be slow, but when the interpreter came in we got a lot farther than we thought we would,” Sergeant Desjardin said. “They’ve been really picking it up; we have a real good quality of students.”
The two NCOs trained 10 Iraqi airmen; four will become trainers on the system.
Having four local trainers sets them up for a more organic capability, said Maj. John Creighton, the ITAM-Air deputy director of aircraft maintenance.
“It (provides) approximately 75 percent of their precision measurement equipment laboratory capability, which is huge for the country of Iraq,” he added.
The intent is to equip them to calibrate the tools they use for aircraft maintenance for years to come.
“I’ve been in the Air Force for 18 years, and we’ve had these systems since I’ve been in,” Sergeant Desjardin said. “They last a really long time.”
In addition to training Iraqi airmen, sergeants Desjardin and Holifield have been working to acquire technical orders so their Iraqi partners have a reference once the two trainers leave.
“The squadron was asked to requisition one of each of the training orders,” Major Creighton said. “When there’s a change, warning or caution that comes up on equipment, they will receive the changes so they can update their technical data.”
The updates will ensure they receive the most accurate information for tool calibration, officials said. Accurate tool calibration means properly maintained aircraft.
With this newly acquired skill, Iraqi air force maintainers are one step closer to becoming self-sufficient.