BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
On a blistering hot day, Hal Moore stands under the wing of B-52 Stratofortress trying to avoid the scorching rays of the Louisiana sun bouncing off the flight line at Barksdale Air Force Base. As he tours the jet, Moore grins from ear to ear, knowing that the company he owns plays a vital role in making sure all the B-52’s at Barksdale are ready when needed.
Moore is the president of Moore Metal Plating Corporation, a company in nearby Bossier City, Louisiana, providing metal plating services for the manufacturing and aerospace industries. MMPC helps ensure the B-52’s mission is accomplished by coating critical flight components, called bushings, the day they are received.
Weighing in at 92 tons and spanning more than 159 feet from nose to tail, the B-52 Stratofortress is one of the largest, and most lethal, jets in the Air Force inventory. Ironically, the jet depends on the tiny round bushings, often smaller than a wedding band, to remain viable, according to according to Master Sgt. Kelly Watkins, 307th Maintenance Squadron metals technology supervisor.
“These bushing reinforce holes in critical areas such as engine mounts, vertical stabilizers and landing gear so when they wear out the plane won’t be able to fly,” said Watkins. “Once we have machined the bushings, Moore Metal Plating has to apply a cadmium plating on them before they can be installed on the jet.”
MMPC is only a few minutes from Barksdale, so its proximity saves a great deal of time. But the real efficiency comes from the level of service Moore’s company provides, explained Lt. Col. George Cole, 307th MXS commander.
“When our technicians take a part to Moore’s for plating, they always greet our Airmen kindly and drop everything to take care of our needs”, said Cole. “They always make us their first priority.”
That level of customer service ensures that bushings can be delivered, plated and installed on the B-52 within a few hours, helping the military save time and money. Cole estimates the relationship with MMPC helps the 307th Bomb Wing gain approximately 100 days of capable flying time annually.
Moore’s explanation for all extra effort is simple. The mission is more important than any monetary gain.
“We know how important it is to keep those B-52’s flying, so it’s not a problem to pull someone off of another job to get the bushing plated on time,” said Moore.
Without MMPC, the alternative is to drive to either Dallas or Houston or mail the bushings and wait to have them returned. Both of those choices would take more time and definitely cost more than going to MMPC, according to Watkins.
“If we had to go to another place, then we either pay to send an Airman to deliver the part and probably pay a rush fee, or mail the bushings and wait for them to be done,” said Watkins. “Hal’s contribution has a significant positive impact on our mission and he’s been helping us for well over 20 years.”
That level of commitment to the military was instilled in Moore by his father, Harold, who started MMPC in 1957. A retired Navy chief, Harold Moore insisted on hiring only military personnel, paying them twice the minimum wage and often providing them and their families a place to live. Two of them even lived in the Moore’s home.
Continuing his father’s tradition, Hal Moore continued to hire veterans and military personnel when he took over the company. During Desert Storm, he painted ‘Welcome Home’ in large letters on top of the company’s roof so returning troops could see it when they made their final approach to Barksdale.
In spite of all the time, money and commitment he has poured into helping the mission, Moore remains humble about his efforts.
“It’s really not a big deal, I just want to help out any way possible,” he said. “I wish I could do more.”