BIRMINGHAM, AL— Parachute Riggers from 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) pause standard operations with parachutes and are manufacturing personal protective equipment, in Alabama, May 1, 2020.
While standard day-to-day parachute operations are placed on an administrative hold, parachute riggers assigned to Group Support Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), shift their focus and utilize their skills to produce personal protective equipment for use in fighting the war against Corona Virus.
“As an Alabama Army National Guard Unit, we are always focused on helping our community, especially in times of crisis,” said Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Griggs, 20th SFG(A), GSB Commander. “As a Special Operations Unit, we have to adapt constantly to accomplish a wide variety of missions. Our Soldiers have unique skills which allow for flexibility and adaptability.”
The riggers have initiated a six-day-per-week operation, producing 150 protective masks per day. Utilizing three light weight sewing machines and Kimberly Clark KC500 material, they will be able to produce over 4000 masks in support of COVID-19 response missions.
The Officer in charge of the Rigger section, 2nd Lieutenant Jeff Malone, added “It was a challenge to figure out how to maximize production for a task we had never done while still adhering to all DoD COVID-19 policies, but we all knew how important this mission was.”
The masks will be provided to Joint Forces Headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama to be disseminated across the state to disinfection teams and medical teams within the Alabama National Guard.
“These masks provide protection needed for our Soldiers to conduct vital disinfection and medical assistance operations throughout the state. The ability to fulfill our requirement for personal protective equipment internally to the Alabama National Guard reduces our demand on the supply chain for first responders, medical professionals, and the great citizens of Alabama,” said Griggs.
Since production operations began, the 20th SFG(A) Riggers have made more than 1740 masks.
20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was activated 15 April 1960, having its roots as part of the combined Canadian-American organization, the 1st Special Service Force. Today, 20th SFG(A) continues to play a key role in a myriad of missions around the world, focused on a long-term commitment of excellence, conducting special operations missions in support of United States Special Operations Command, geographical combatant commanders, American Ambassadors, and other government agencies as directed.