AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
Tech. Sgt. Teri Gorges is an Air National Guardsman. As an electrician from Wisconsin, she builds fire trucks. On her first deployment, she works as a munitions quality assurance inspector at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
She inspects the chaff and flare process, whether it is squibbing (the process of loading the explosives into a module to be loaded onto a jet), reconciling and consolidating the used modules before they are repacked and stored or inspecting the storage, maintenance, equipment and personnel procedures. And on her first deployment, she intends to learn.
“I started doing QA three months ago before I came here,” she said. “I think you learn a lot more about ammo by doing, and the way things are out here is definitely different. I’m still learning.”
Gorges has worked in munitions for 15 years, both in active duty and the Air National Guard. Although, she did take a break in service for five years and said she took a break from munitions for five years. Going from active duty to Guard, she decided to try out egress when she transitioned and started working with ejector seats and canopies for five years. These use explosives as propellants, which are stored by munitions.
“I went to egress to see what else was out there because the Guard was a lot different than active duty,” she said. “Although, it is kind of related with munitions. I guess why I like it is because I get to work with explosives. I mean, who doesn’t like seeing stuff blow up?”
Working in munitions and egress gave Gorges a breadth of experience that she can use now as quality assurance for ammo and munitions. They are involved with storage of any weapons needed on base, whether for explosive ordnance disposal, security forces, loaders for aircraft or even those who maintain the trailers ammo is moved on. Quality assurance to her means acting as a second set of eyes that can offer different perspectives on work processes.
“Quality assurance has so many moving parts that I didn’t even know of, and I like learning more about the people and their jobs in QA,” she said. “When I started out here, I wanted to figure out more about who is responsible for what and how I fit into that picture. Then I used that to better understand what I was responsible for inspecting. And my goal is to not stop. I think I’m going to have a bigger picture of the Air Force as a whole.”