Your Command Team Has You Covered

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Shawn Bryant
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is a key component to combating the spread of COVID-19, and has become a hot commodity at this point in time.  That being said, there are different types that are better suited for different mission sets and while everyone does need to cover their face, not everyone needs medical grade PPE.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommends “the general public refrain from wearing N-95 respirators or surgical masks to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus,as these are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders.”

Maj Bruce Auville, 9th Medical Group Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight commander, explains that during a COVID-19 test, there is a potential to generate aerosol contaminates and the N95 masks are designed specifically to protect against that.

“Medical personnel operate in an environment where they have people who are unprotected and possibly infected breathing in their face for a prolonged period of time and for that reason they need the higher grade PPE than others.” Maj. Auville said.  “N-95 masks stop what is coming in, surgical and cloth masks stop what is going out.”

Even though your daily duties may not require the use of medical grade PPE, covering your face can help us fight this unseen enemy.

According to the CDC,“The use of simple cloth face coverings can slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

With the entire world clambering for a limited number of supplies, the command team here at Beale is doing everything they can to get the necessary tools to keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay.

Chief Master Sgt. Dustin Hall, 9th Reconnaissance Wing command chief says, “The base is working very hard to purchase PPE.  The Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) is purchasing PPE for mission essential personnel and that will be arriving soon.  However, we are also encouraging each unit to purchase PPE for their members.”

Col. Andy Clark, Commander 9th Reconnaissance Wing, is working diligently to ensure members of Recce Town receive proper PPE as soon as possible and while the type of mask does matter, the color is not nearly as important. 

“We were going to have to wait until January to get a shipment of black masks that could be worn in any uniform.  We are not waiting that long for PPE because of the color.” Col. Clark said.  “My response was let’s just get whatever we can.  The color is not as important as your safety.  I want you to be safe.  We can worry about the prescriptive colors at a later date when they are more readily available.”

As you all work to flatten the curve by washing your hands and observing physical distancing, covering your face is another tactic that can help to slow the spread of this virus.  Please follow Col. Clark’s guidance, “For now, let’s just be smart and be safe.”