An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News Search
NEWS | April 22, 2020

305th MXS metals technology shop builds protective masks to fight COVID-19

By Staff Sgt. Jake Carter Joint Base MDL Public Affairs


The United States has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the world and the fight to kill the virus has never been greater. Some healthcare facilities are looking to replenish their essential supplies, but most are hard to come in this time of need.

For Airmen in the 305th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop on Joint Base MDL, they are doing their part by providing more than 500 protective masks to keep community members safe. While not being tasked by Air Mobility Command or any Air Force agency, the metals shop wanted to help because they knew it was the right thing to do.

Tech. Sgt. Jordan Loving, 305th MXS acting metals technology section chief, discussed how inspiration from Travis Air Force Base, California, impacted how they will create the masks at Joint Base MDL.

“It was kind of an in-house thing in creating these masks,” said Loving. “Our flight chief was stationed at Travis AFB before coming here, so he had some contacts out there that let him know they were making their own face shields for their hospital. Initially, when we thought about doing this, we didn’t have an actual customer. It was us deciding where to find the materials and resources for ourselves so we could make them when they could be needed.”

The 305 MXS Metal Technology shop already owned some of the materials. All that was needed was the plastic for the front of the shield. When the supplies came in, Loving and his team laid out the groundwork on how to create the masks.

“We’ve already done a lot of the legwork as far as the planning out of getting everything prepared for the materials,” said Loving. “That started with getting the blueprints for the headband portion of the face shield from the National Institute of Health. We will take them to our water jet machine where the computer has a program in place to cut the materials. We want to get the most out of the material so we aren’t wasting anything.”

Once all materials arrive the process will take two to three days to make the face shields. Additional agencies across the installation like the 305th Air Mobility Wing Aircrew Flight Equipment section have provided fabric fastener straps to assist with providing a “latch” for the headband.

“I’m going to be cutting out the masks and headbands using the National Institute of Health outlines,” said Senior Airman George Denton, 305th MXS metals technology specialist. “We have to get the right dimensions first. Then we have to draw a two dimensional model of it on the computer and once we find out what our material is and how thick, we know to put it in the program and it can figure out how much pressure is needed to cut it. Having the right dimensions will let us maximize our material to get as many created as possible.”

With all the steps in place to create the face shields, the metals technology shop will be in a non-stop production process to ensure they can get them out as quickly as possible. 

“I think it’s awesome, personally. I have family that is a part of the medical community back home, so it makes me feel a lot better knowing that if I help someone here, someone else can be doing it across the country,” said Denton. “It makes me feel good.”

Loving added on to Denton’s words by agreeing that what they are doing to protect american lives brings a sense of pride.

“It’s a good thing we can help,” said Loving. “If we can get these made and someone needs them, we will have them here ready to go.”