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Fabricating readiness: Trainer technology flight

Steven Twinn, 81st Training Support Squadron electronics technician, alters a wooden board for a project in the Trainer Development Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Aug. 12, 2020. The development center crafted 1,500 face shields over six days using a template provided by the Jackson County School District's FabLab, composed of high schoolers from the district. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller)

Steven Twinn, 81st Training Support Squadron electronics technician, alters a wooden board for a project in the Trainer Development Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Aug. 12, 2020. The development center crafted 1,500 face shields over six days using a template provided by the Jackson County School District's FabLab, composed of high schoolers from the district. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller)

A plexiglass face shield is displayed in the Trainer Development Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Aug. 12, 2020. The development center crafted 1,500 face shields over six days using a template provided by the Jackson County School District's FabLab, composed of high schoolers from the district. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller)

A plexiglass face shield is displayed in the Trainer Development Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Aug. 12, 2020. The development center crafted 1,500 face shields over six days using a template provided by the Jackson County School District's FabLab, composed of high schoolers from the district. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller)

A simulation model at Keesler Air Force Base lies on a newly designed pronating shelf, designed to assisted COVID-19 patients with their breathing. (Courtesy photo)

A simulation model at Keesler Air Force Base lies on a newly designed pronating shelf, designed to assisted COVID-19 patients with their breathing. (Courtesy photo)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Revamping training technology is the focus of Keesler’s Trainer Development Center, but everything changed when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Hosting various machines used for crafting various training tools, the development center was called to build the prototype of a shelf to treat patients for COVID-19 in Keesler Medical Center.

“The medical center was rolling up some sheets and towels to make a bridge,” said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Lassabe, 81st Training Support Squadron trainer technology flight chief. “We got rid of all the towels and put an aluminum shelf in there. We cut a hole in it so cords could run through and the gel inserts could sit on top and it can be adjusted up and down. That got us in the COVID-19 fight. That was our initial contact. Once that contact was made, they called us for face shields.”

The trainer technology flight made about 400 face shields in one day before running out of supplies, giving them time to review and improve upon their methods of production. After obtaining materials, they completed the remaining 1,100 face shields in a total of only six days, including the three day wait for materials.

“We worked with the Jackson County School District’s FabLab, because if the high school is meeting standards, why not reach out to them,” said Lassabe. “They put everything together. We got the files, 3D-printed what we could and then presented it to the hospital.”

The hospital worked with the trainer technology flight to perfect the initial products and reach final versions for use.

“The team here has done a wonderful job of adapting,” said Lassabe. “We never thought this day would come, and here we are making face shields and shelves. Whether or not we overreacted, having the capabilities to be able to make things that were in high demand had a huge impact.”