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TMDE earns international accreditation

12 Aug 2010 | Pamela Jackson, Public Affairs Specialist

Maintenance Center Albany is no stranger to receiving national and international awards for the work they do to support the warfighter.

Their motto: “What you do every day is important, a Marine’s life may depend on it” is etched in the minds of the Marines and civilian-Marines who work there on a daily basis.

One department critical to their mission is the Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Department, Metrology Branch.

“We became the first and only lab within the Marine Corps to become International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission 17025-2005 accredited, which is the internationally recognized standard for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories,” said Peter Dembowski, Metrology Branch manager, TMDE. “What this means is the laboratories within MCA Albany are internationally recognized as meeting the highest standards set forth for calibration and testing laboratories on an international scale.”

Dembowski said international accreditation is not currently a Marine Corps requirement, but it was the logical step to take because of the lab’s function within the Ground Marine Corps Calibration Program.

“It took us about two years of hard work to revise all of our standards and processes,” Dembowski said. “We had to meet more than 170 individual elements and several departments played a role in making this happen. Engineering technicians were tasked with doing very detailed uncertainty analysis for the test and measurement areas the lab was accredited to. This involved numerous mathematical calculations and (provided) proof the measurement traceability chain was intact.”

“The Quality Assurance Department performed an internal audit by providing input on corrective actions to be taken prior the laboratory being assessed,” he explained.

Dembowski said this accreditation gives the Marine Corps assurance the equipment the Marines are getting from their calibration lab is accurate and correct. It is also a way of providing current and future customers confidence in the work they do.

“It felt really good to get the certificate of international accreditation for competency of testing and calibration facilities, and there were a lot of components and processes that needed to be evaluated,” he said.

Officials say accreditation of the lab brings them up to the world class standards that Marine Corps Logistics Command represents. This is important because TMDE’s role is to calibrate test equipment used to align weapons systems for the Marine Corps, whether it is weapons, vehicles or communications equipment, according to John Powell, manager, TMDE Department.

“We try to set the standards for the rest of the Marine Corps so that others may follow suit. Pete and his metrology staff have done an excellent job of setting the bar for other calibration labs and they may choose to follow our lead in getting their labs accredited,” Powell said. “There are a total of 13 ground calibration facilities and we are the premier lab. This accreditation shows we are competitive in the world market, not just the Marine Corps.”

Col. Terry Reid, commander, MCA, said their goal is to become known throughout the Department of Defense as a center of excellence.

“The international accreditation to ISO Standard 17025 our TMDE Department has achieved speaks volumes concerning the dedication of our Marines and civilian-Marines in our efforts to be the best at what we do in providing our warfighters with the best support available,” Reid said. “The commitment to excellence exemplified by the entire department is truly deserving of praise.”

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany