La. Guard calibration team named number one lab in U.S.

By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

PINEVILLE, La – The Louisiana Army National Guard’s Combined Support Maintenance Shop (CSMS) calibration team became the first lab to be presented the best CSMS Calibration Team Award, a new award that was started this year, during a ceremony at the LANG’s CSMS shop in Pineville, May 24.

The award is for calendar year 2021 (CY21) and was presented to the team by Dr. Richard Parker, the executive director of the U.S. Army Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment Activity (USATA), and Mr. William Singer, the deputy of production for USATA.

“This is the first award … so you’re setting the bar really high, thank you. I understand that Master Sgt. Richey may not be here too much longer, and this is an awesome way to step out … thank you for your leadership,” said Singer.

Dr. Parker explained that there are over 50 labs supporting the USATA’s metrology and calibration mission.

“Thank you for the role that you play in ensuring the Army’s readiness and keeping our country and people safe,” said Parker. “As I look out over the sea of leaders here, I look at the confidence and competence that shows clearly in the way that you present yourselves and the way you act, so it’s no surprise that this location is the number one metrology lab for the National Guard.”

The LANG’s calibration lab consists of a team of five technicians that operate out of the CSMS shop in Pineville. The lab is responsible for the routine inspections, testing, calibration, maintenance and repair of instruments, and ensuring all calibrations are accurate. In CY21, the LANG’s calibration team calibrated over 3,300 pieces of equipment which included physical, electronic, radiac and microwave instruments.

“Our job is to ensure all TMDE instruments are calibrated and findings are documented properly,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Marion Weston, a technician at the LANG’s calibration lab.

In addition to calibrating equipment used on weapon systems, such as the M16 Rifle, M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun, M4 Carbine Rifle and the M17 Pistol, the lab also works with measurement equipment, such as torque wrenches and pressure gauges, and basic equipment that Soldiers use, such as night vision goggles.

“It’s important for us to ensure equipment is calibrated correctly so it can accurately diagnose problems and conduct maintenance to specified tolerances,” said Weston.

Master. Sgt. James Richey has worked as a member of the calibration team for 28 years, and is the current calibration manager. He explained calibrating different pieces of equipment can take anywhere from half an hour to 24 hours to accurately calibrate.

“If we are unable to calibrate a piece of equipment we ship it to the regional lab,” said Richey.

For Richey, he says working in the calibration lab means overcoming new challenges presented.

“I enjoy learning the intricacies of calibrating new equipment,” said Richey.

During the ceremony, Col. Mark McCoy, the director of logistics for the LANG, explained that maintenance and logistics often goes unseen.

“I’m proud of this team and these guys for what they do. I’m not surprised at all that they won this award,” said McCoy. “I’m sure it’s the first of many for this facility.”

After the ceremony, the team expressed their thoughts about being the first team to receive this new award from USATA, as well as the first National Guard team to win an award.

“This award is something to be proud of and we greatly appreciate such an award,” said Richey. “It means our hard work did not go unnoticed.”

“This award shows that excellence can be achieved with hard work and dedication,” said Weston.

The calibration team members that received the award are Richey, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Marion Weston, Warrant Officer Franklin Watson, Staff Sgt. Toshiro Fisher and Spc. David Pabon.

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