KEY POINTS

  • Fort Bragg soldiers are now busy making face masks to help fight the coronavirus pandemic
  • An initial goal of making 600 masks per week resulted in the production of 600 masks per day
  • The soldiers have entered into a friendly competition as to who produces the most masks per shift  

Fort Bragg has long been known to be the home of Delta Force, the elite fighting unit of the U.S. Army. Today, the base is bustling with activity on who among the soldiers in the 647th Quartermaster Company can produce the most face masks during their shift. The masks are going to be used by others to protect against the deadly coronavirus.

Making Cloth Face Masks

The main task of the 647th Quartermaster Company is to rig parachutes for use in Fort Bragg’s Airborne operations. On a normal day, the company’s shed is full of paratroopers with red ball caps busily packing parachutes and preparing supplies for jumps. Today, you can see soldiers across the room, working with tiny pins and sewing machines. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, parachute riggers are now busy creating cloth face masks for personnel assigned at their sprawling base.

Setting A Goal

At the outset, the goal of producing 600 masks a week has been set by Capt. Williams. In an interview with The Associated Press, the Company Commander proudly said that due to the adaptability and resilience of the soldiers, they are now producing 600 masks a day. The North Carolina State University also gave the parachute rigging unit 4,000 meters of unwoven material, which the soldiers are now using to make new personal protective equipment.

On Friday, Fort Bragg highlighted the need for protective equipment with the announcement that a contractor and civilian employee working at the base became their first cases of COVID-19 infection. The fabric donated by NCSU goes through a multi-step process and is handled precisely in the same meticulous manner as they would rig the parachutes.

Heart Of A Volunteer

Capt. Williams has seen his men embrace the entire process, with some even offering to sit at sewing machines for multiple shifts. Their commander said that this just goes to show his men do not have to be in combat overseas to make an impact. “You can do that right here in the United States,” Capt. Williams said.

In another section of Fort Bragg, men of the 188th Brigade Support Battalion are utilizing 3D printers in building face shields. This PPE is then distributed by 18th Airborne Corps officers and personnel to units across the base.