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Sew many masks, so little time

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher S. Sparks
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 48th Fighter Wing prioritizes the protection of its Airmen, families and communities while maintaining the capability to deliver combat airpower at a moment’s notice.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Defense has instructed all Airmen to wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain two meters of physical distancing in public areas or work centers.

In an effort to support personnel across the Liberty Wing, the Arts and Crafts center has started making protective masks to distribute to squadrons.

“We’ve taken our paint and ceramics room and turned it into our sewing room,” said Master Sgt. Tennille Benton, 48th Community Service Flight Superintendent. “We’ll use that space to produce enough masks to supply to our military members in the 48th Fighter Wing.”

The center has also put together protective mask kits to sew masks from. Each kit comprises of enough fabric, pipe cleaners to use as mask linings and elastic to make 10 masks. As well as instruction on how to assemble each mask.

Due to the social distancing restrictions, Arts and Crafts has enlisted the help of volunteers across the Liberty Wing to pick up the mask kits and make masks from their respective homes.

“This is kind of unknown territory,” said Louise Mannox, Arts and Crafts program director. “The way people have stepped up has been amazing.”

The fabric used for each mask falls within guidelines of the DoD’s color restrictions and are assembled for mask wearers to insert a filter if needed. The instructions also mirror the Center of Disease Control’s instructions on how protective face masks should be made.

With the current supply of material, the Arts and Crafts center hopes to make and distribute more than 685 to base personnel across the wing.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic but we’re all going through the same thing,” Benton said. “It’s what the U.S. Air Force is all about, we put the mission first but our people are always supported. To see everyone come together, from dependents to Airmen from other squadrons, it’s inspiring.”

For more information and updates on the 48th Fighter Wing and COVID-19, please use the list of resources below.

COVID-19 Medical Hotline: 01638528556 or DSN 226-8556

RAF Lakenheath COVID-19: https://www.lakenheath.af.mil/Home/COVID-19/

RAF Lakenheath Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RAFLakenheath