Special Forces parachute riggers use shop to sew protective masks during pandemic

Jack Murphy
April 07, 2020 - 9:24 am
1st Special Forces Group

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joe Parrish)

The 1st Special Forces Group parachute riggers shop has a new task at hand, sewing protective masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Using lightweight sewing machines normally used for parachute repair, the riggers assigned to the unit's Group Support Battalion (GSB) were initially able to sew up 200 masks a day. They hope to drastically increase their output in the coming days and weeks. The riggers expect to be able to sew 1,000 to 1,500 masks per week.

The materials used to construct the masks are provided by Madigan Army Madigan Center and then the completed masks are delivered to health care workers there. "This has since expanded to units across the installation as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to provide protection to our soldiers," a spokesperson for 1st Special Forces Group told Connecting Vets.

The protective masks are being given to symptomatic patients identified by healthcare workers. At least 300 surgical masks have been provided to Madigan Army Medical Center by the parachute riggers thus far.

“I believe this is a phenomenal effort to help our healthcare professionals and fellow Americans. We’re collaborating with [Special Forces] and conventional forces across the Army to make a difference," said Lt. Col. Christopher S. Jones, who commands the GSB.

When asked if Green Berets assigned to 1st Group will also use the masks while on mission, the unit's spokesperson said, "our priority right now is to protect the force so that we can protect the nation. Our soldiers are prepared with the appropriate protective equipment, whatever the mission."

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.