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558th FTS uses 3-D tech to fight COVID-19

By Benjamin Faske | 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs | April 20, 2020

Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Tx —

We call on our friends when times get tough, we lean on them for advice, comfort, friendship, and help. The bonds that bind us together as Airmen are instilled in each and every one of us, and when our nation calls we step up.

It all began with a phone call, and two weeks later over 200 face shields were delivered to the 559th Medical Group to be distributed to medical clinics at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and Lackland.  “Late last week, Chief Master Sgt. Keith Scott, 559th MDG superintendent, reached out to me to see if I knew anyone with a 3-D printer. I didn’t know anyone personally, but I checked with Senior Master Sgt. Dale Eslinger, 558th Flying Training Squadron superintendent, and within two hours we had the right people talking to each other to determine what was needed and what could be done to support,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jason Dahlquist, 12th Flying Training Wing command chief.

The 558th FTS is accustomed to thinking outside the box, the very nature of their mission implores them to because Remotely Piloted Aircraft pilots and sensor operators have learned to adapt to an ever-changing battlefield. Whether they’re building virtual reality trainers from the ground up or using 3-D printer technology to create parts for training aides, the Phantom Knights get the job done.

“I think it’s important to reach out to the community, I know that we aren’t the only squadron with a 3-D printer but as brothers-and sisters-in-arms we want to reach out to our local medical teams and see if they have what they need, a call to arms if you will,” said Master Sgt. Mike, 558th FTS flight chief. “We have global deployment contingencies now and our medical staff is always there for us making sure we are fit to fight medically, it just makes sense that we can return the favor.”

In the last week alone, the 558th FTS was able to further increase their efficiency by securing a new printer nozzle resulting in a 50 percent production increase. Instead of printing 12 per day, the 558th FTS can now produce up to 26 frames daily. The streamlined process has also resulted in a production cost decrease from 50 to 33 cents per unit.

“Our philosophy at the 558th FTS  is that we are all in this together and over the years our teammates in the medical group have supported us and kept us in the fight and so this is an opportunity to keep them safe and help them continue their mission,” said Lt. Col. Corey Hogue, 558th FTS commander.

The delivered face shields will go to work immediately shielding our brothers- and sisters-in-arms as they fight back against the spread of COVID-19, and preserve the nation’s combat readiness.