EOD Airman 3D prints face shields for COVID-19 response
By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published April 10, 2020
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen from the 104th Fighter Wing are protecting lives using innovative equipment in a critical response to COVID-19. The task at hand is slightly different than their usual work, but they are still clearing the way for the mission to carry on. The 104FW EOD shop recently began making face shields in support of the 104FW Medical Group, to ensure their safety while supporting the critical response to COVID-19 in Massachusetts.
“I never expected to be printing 3D face shields for a global pandemic while telecommuting, in my whole EOD career,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jeremiah McClosky, EOD Superintendent, who has served for twenty years. “I'm glad I can still help out in these times.”
While telecommuting, McClosky began 3D printing on a phone app from his home. McClosky loaded the files from an open-source website, and it took a total of 11 hours to see results. McClosky can use the app to direct the 3D printing, but he still needs to go in to the office to take them off the printer, separate the parts, and assemble the face shields made from Polylactic Acid and heavy-duty laminating paper.
The 104FW MDG Airmen are serving on the front lines of COVID-19. EOD is supporting from a distance from the rear, but they are still a team accomplishing the mission. The EOD Airmen are used to helping from a distance, ahead of the mission, and this is nothing different for a day’s work protecting people.
EOD Airmen are specialists who are usually on the front lines clearing explosive ordnance all over the world. They are trained in detecting, disarming, detonating, and disposing of explosive threats.
The EOD has a 3D printer on hand for making simulated training materials to ensure a realistic environment in every training opportunity when live munition is not available. They are continually preparing to be deployed to serve their country overseas and work with interagency partners stateside.
“The 3D printer is a cost-benefit in being able to print training aid tools,” said McClosky. “The training aids may not be real-weight, but it is a value-added to get close as possible to realistic training every time. In this case, we are doing what we can to protect lives.”
The 104th FW EOD Airmen are also keeping up on their readiness while studying their craft telecommuting.
“We are still busy training,” said McClosky. “I am making home school kits of basic fake demolition training material for my Airmen to study. We are always preparing and focused on readiness to serve our nation, and during this time is no different.”
McClosky shared that not only are they working and training from home, they have also celebrated significant events together as a team while telecommuting. “We also virtually promoted someone. I was standing at attention in my room, so I didn’t think to take a screenshot of my screen. The team was together over video chat to hold the promotion ceremony for Senior Airman Keith DeAmicis.”