AFE technicians make masks, maintain mission
By R. Nial Bradshaw, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 24, 2020
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
The Aircrew Flight Equipment technicians with Hill Air Force Base’s 531st Armament Textile Shop recently shifted gears to make cloth masks for Team Hill.
The shop’s skill set and equipment made a quick transition from maintaining aircrew flight equipment and integral fuel bladders to producing protective face coverings.
“Our involvement with the masks occurred when a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency contacted our management team a couple weeks ago to see if we were up to the task. Knowing what was a stake, we accepted,” said Paul Schragal, 531st Commodities Maintenance Squadron aircraft production controller.
After a short period of research and development involving production and process engineering teams, the shop quickly produced a couple of prototypes and designed an assembly line before entering full production.
“Our team went with a simple pattern based on CDC guidelines designed around comfort while utilizing the least amount of material for maximum production output in mind. A balance of quality and quantity,” said Schragal.
The materials used included basic cotton fabrics with a cotton ducting material for filtration sewn together with parachute cord.
The shop produced more than 600 masks a day while continuing to support their flight test and egress workloads.
The masks have been distributed through a prioritized supply system to personnel across the base.
“So far, we’ve distributed roughly 7,000 masks between our military and various organizations throughout the complex,” said Schragal.