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52nd LRS gear up in COVID-19 response

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Mark Majack, left, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron section chief of personal property, passenger travel office, and Airman 1st Class Joshua Boozer, right, 52nd LRS Individual Protective Equipment apprentice, demonstrate putting a deployment bag together, June 4, 2020, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The 52nd LRS IPE Airmen are responsible for ensuring Airmen are properly equipped with gear needed for taskings, deployments, and temporary duty travel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Mark Majack, left, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron section chief of personal property, passenger travel office, and Airman 1st Class Joshua Boozer, right, 52nd LRS Individual Protective Equipment apprentice, demonstrate putting a deployment bag together, June 4, 2020, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The 52nd LRS IPE Airmen are responsible for ensuring Airmen are properly equipped with gear needed for taskings, deployments, and temporary duty travel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Bruna Matthews, left, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment apprentice, and Senior Airman Alyssa Padilla, right, 52nd LRS IPE journeyman, demonstrate prepping a vest, June 4, 2020, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. LRS Airmen learned to adjust to the rapid changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and executed their mission of ensuring the 52nd Fighter Wing and surrounding geographically separated units were properly equipped with protective gear during this pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Bruna Matthews, left, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment apprentice, and Senior Airman Alyssa Padilla, right, 52nd LRS IPE journeyman, demonstrate prepping a vest, June 4, 2020, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. LRS Airmen learned to adjust to the rapid changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and executed their mission of ensuring the 52nd Fighter Wing and surrounding geographically separated units were properly equipped with protective gear during this pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Blaze, left, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment journeyman, and A1C Corbin Hanly, right, 52nd LRS IPE apprentice, demonstrate issuing a weapon, June 4, 2020, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The 52nd LRS IPE airmen responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by rapidly issuing protective face masks to Airmen stationed at the 52nd Fighter Wing and surrounding geographically separated units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Blaze, left, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment journeyman, and A1C Corbin Hanly, right, 52nd LRS IPE apprentice, demonstrate issuing a weapon, June 4, 2020, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The 52nd LRS IPE airmen responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by rapidly issuing protective face masks to Airmen stationed at the 52nd Fighter Wing and surrounding geographically separated units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

Members from 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment section have steadily supported the COVID-19 response by providing the base populous with proper gear, ensuring mission readiness at all times.

Airmen having the proper face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial in decreasing the chance of this virus spreading and impacting our ability to continue the mission.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. William Navarro, 52nd LRS IPE supervisor, Airman 1st Class Joshua Boozer, A1C Corbin Hanly, and A1C Bruna Matthews, IPE apprentices, were recognized by their leadership for their vital roles in ensuring Spangdahlem AB Airmen were mission ready throughout the COVID-19 response.

Navarro said during normal operations they support the 52nd Fighter Wing by providing chemical and training gear, deployment bags, and support for base exercises.

“If Airmen need gear, they get it from us,” Navarro said. “Whether it is a tasking for a deployment or they need cold-weather gear, we ensure they are protected and ready for those conditions.”

Once the COVID-19 pandemic happened and Spangdahlem AB changed the Health Protection Condition status to Charlie, Navarro said his team adjusted quickly and never stopped helping their customers.

“Whether a pandemic is happening or not, we have a job to do,” Navarro said. “People still need to go through a permanent change of station, people still need to prepare for deployments. We ensured our IPE guys were available when they were needed and we never stopped.”

Navarro and his team provided over 900 balaclava masks for first responders and mission-essential personnel, and then provided over 7,000 cloth protective masks for the rest of the 52nd FW.

“Once the Centers for Disease Control guidance came down with face masks helping prevent the spread, we immediately provided Airmen with what we had available at the time, which was the cold weather face coverings,” Navarro said. “Once we ran out of those, we immediately ordered face masks to provide to the whole wing and to our geographically separated units.”

Matthews said her and fellow peers’ roles in this process was ensuring they had enough masks to provide for each squadron and to continue helping Airmen receive the proper gear.

“We separated the masks to match the amount needed for each group who requested them,” Matthews said. “We were all here in case groups wanted to acquire more masks, or if someone needed other protective gear.”

Hanly said their biggest challenge in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the constant change in procedures and having to quickly adjust.

“We would get a tasker and then all of a sudden it would get cancelled,” Hanly said. “So it would be us preparing for a tasker all day and then having to completely change what we were doing. It was challenging going back and forth with the uncertainty that came with COVID-19 but we adjusted as quickly as we could and were able to help those out who needed the proper equipment to combat this virus.”

Navarro said he was proud of the work his team did and the impact they made to Spangdahlem AB.

“This was all a team effort,” Navarro said. “Virus or not, the mission never stops. You may not see what is going on behind the scenes, but this pandemic has shown us that we are able to adapt and overcome whatever is thrown at us.”