PMEL Airman trains Chilean Air Force members

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- One Gunfighter had a unique opportunity to train foreign Airmen on night vision equipment in Iquique, Chile, April 7-11.

Tech. Sgt. Fernando Marinas, 366th Component Maintenance Squadron Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory test measurement and diagnostic equipment laboratory chief, faced a mission to train individuals in the Chilean Air Force to perform routine calibrations.

"The training took place at Los Condores Air Base, Iquique, Chile with personnel from the Fuerza Aérea de Chile," said Master Sgt. Jeremy Jacobs, 12th Air Force, Air Force South manager. "The PMEL laboratory was used as the classroom and was more than adequate for introducing the trainees to the night vision goggle calibration standard and NVG test set."

The mission was a simple but important one.

"I had one objective and that was to train them on the use of the night vision goggle test set and the calibration of night vision testers," said Marinas.

With the Chilean Air Force receiving the new equipment, hands-on training from subject matter experts was essential.

"What Marinas did down there was to do some introductory training sessions on how to use and how to calibrate the night vision testers," said Master Sgt. Cory Perkins, 366th Component Maintenance Squadron PMEL TMDE laboratory flight chief.

The mission was directly handed down from the 12th AF.

"Our mission was to develop the Fuerza Aérea de Chile's capability to perform routine calibration on the ANV-126A-001 Night Vision Goggle Test Set using the ANV-126-085 calibration kit," said Jacobs. "The overall impact was to restore FACH low light/night time air and ground operational capabilities for operation Peace Puma."
The mission wasn't stress free.

"As far as the language barrier, that was the biggest hurdle," said Marinas. "We found someone who was pretty efficient in English."

Resourcefulness proved to be the biggest ally while working in new conditions.

"A dark room environment was created by covering all windows to the facility," said Jacobs. "The Night Vision Goggle calibration kit was available and recently calibrated by the Air Force Primary Standards Laboratory."

With quick, strategic thinking, nothing proved too difficult.

"In PMEL, one of the most important things is performing calibrations in a tightly controlled temperature and humidity stable environment," said Marinas. "The conditions in the FACH's PMEL when I arrived where not within the specified limits of the NVG test set calibration procedures."

Within four hours, the environment conditions were under control.

"While I was there, the humidity inside was so high that condensation on the NVG Standard lenses was preventing us from performing the NVG optics checks," said Marinas. "I was able to speak with the FACH Maintenance Group to try and resolve the problem. We were able to coordinate with the local Civil Engineering Squadron to fix the Heating Vacuum and Air-conditioning system and bring in additional dehumidifiers."

Quickly moving past the challenges, the training became successful quickly.

"There were only minor obstacles to overcome, namely clarifying terms due to English being a second language," said Jacobs. "Overall the entire group was very receptive to the instruction and expertly performed all of the proposed practical exercises, and met all of the training objectives."