Aerial Delivery Flight fabricates masks for Team Little Rock

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron Aerial Delivery Flight at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, volunteered to fabricate cloth face masks in an effort to support Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s new guidance on the use of cloth face coverings released on April 5.

The team of fast-acting Airmen repurposed their sewing machines, typically used to repair parachutes, to assemble cloth face masks.

“We were asked if we had the capability to make masks because we had the skill of sewing and repairing parachutes,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nicholas Graham, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial delivery flight superintendent. “At first we made a few for the squadron, but then we were asked by the Public Health Operations Center if we could make them for the entire base.”

More than 10 Airmen from the flight came together to produce the cloth face coverings.

“Masks are a critical component in protecting our Airmen who execute the combat airlift mission,” said Lt. Col. Michael Stefanovic, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron commander and PHOC director. “The volunteers in the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron and their ability to flex to meet diverse requirements highlight our most valuable resource — our Airmen.”

To the greatest extent practical, without significantly impacting the mission, all individuals on LRAFB property are required to wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of physical distance.

“Originally the PHOC only asked for 1,000 masks, but the goal now is to continue making masks until we’re told to stop,” Graham said. “It’s refreshing to see Airmen enthusiastic about taking on new tasks and willing to help. Watching them come together and take on this responsibility is encouraging.”

Leaders from across Team Little Rock will continue to implement measures to mitigate the risk and spread of COVID-19 to ensure the base's mission of sustaining agile combat airlift continues on safely.

“Making masks only emphasizes the importance of our job,” Graham said. “Our Airmen already have pride in their work, but when people on base are walking around in their masks they will know they had a part in putting that together and flattening the curve. It will definitely be a proud moment.”

It is to be noted that the use of a cloth face covering does not prevent the wearer from getting sick or eliminate the need to continue the primary mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, but may prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others. Cloth face coverings should be washed before initial use and routinely washed in line with CDC guidance