AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
“You’re like MacGyver,” the doctor enthusiastically told Tech. Sgt. Kristoffer Bruce, a biomedical equipment repair technician with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron, after he was told by Bruce a broken piece of dental equipment could be repaired.
The doctor was comparing Bruce to a popular American action-adventure television series character from the 1980s who possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of science and could solve problems by improvising with available materials and a multi-tool.
What makes Bruce standout at the 379th EMDOS is his ability to adapt to a fast-paced environment in a deployed hospital where healing people in an expeditionary environment is the mission.
“He hit the ground running once he got here,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kendrick Hinton, 379th EMDOS biomedical equipment repair superintendent. “Here, he is dual-hatted because he is a biomedical equipment repair technician and a facilities manager.”
When it comes to his job, Bruce finds satisfaction in the challenging aspects of his work.
“The challenging part is the fun part, like when you have a piece of equipment that breaks down and you have to figure it out,” he said. “Once you fix a broken piece of equipment and get that satisfaction of getting it working again and knowing that the docs and nurses can depend on you to get their stuff fixed, and you see that smile on their face.There is no greater feeling than that.”
Another challenging part of his job is sometimes finding the resources to repair the medical equipment in an expeditionary environment where supplies may be limited. Bruce calls his home station at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., to get parts taking into account the time difference and sometimes having to wait a month or two to receive them.
“Out here you have to be more ingenious,” Bruce says of his improvisational skills. “If I had a part that wasn’t working, I would have to go through my parts to see if I can find something that can replace it in the meantime while we are waiting to get the actual part in.”
One of the biggest rewards Bruce gets from his work is the role it plays in saving lives.
“It is an amazing feeling. When I work on [medical equipment]. I treat it as if my daughter or my wife might be on the other end of the piece of that equipment,” he said. “I make sure I do the best job I can and do it the right way the first time. I use that thought as motivation to do the right thing the first time.”
Other than improving his skills professionally, Bruce also has goals to improve his fitness, work towards his bachelor’s degree and work on his professional development coursework to become a senior NCO like his father and father-in-law.
“I want to come back better than I left and be well rounded physically and mentally,” the Fayetteville, N.C., native said.
Whether it is coordinating with other agencies to fix a broken air conditioner on one of the 11 buildings he manages, repairing an electrocardiogram machine or studying for his next professional development course, Bruce can handle the challenge according to his peers.
“Tech. Sgt. Bruce is an excellent biomedical equipment technician. He can work on something as simple as a blood pressure cuff to a much more complex MRI machine,” Hinton said.
“He is a full circle technician; he is a full circle Airman.”