Feature   Defense News

Kings Bay Unit Makes PPE for Employees, Health Care Providers

May 18, 2020 | BY Kimberly Menzies

As COVID-19 began to spread across the United States, Trident Refit Facility Kings Bay, Georgia, or TRF-KB, redirected some resources to produce personal protective equipment  for its employees and local medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients.

An intubation box.
Intubation Box
Trident Refit Facility Kings Bay, Ga., shipfitters designed and manufactured intubation boxes for use at the regional naval hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.
Photo By: Kimberly Menzies, Navy
VIRIN: 200407-N-XX002-002

After seeing media reports about New York City healthcare providers using plastic trash bags due to shortages of protective medical aprons, Navy Capt. Paul Dinius, the TRF-KB commanding officer at the time, contacted Navy Cmdr. Adrian Gaskins, the officer in charge at the Kings Bay Naval Branch Health Clinic, and offered the services of TRF-KB to manufacture PPE items.

The initial thought was to make aprons from vinyl or other material in preparation for an expected onslaught of COVID patients, said Navy Cmdr. Joseph Meier, the repair officer for TRF-KB.

TRF-KB also received requests from the Jacksonville Naval Hospital for support by producing other types of PPE.

Once medical needs were identified, the TRF-KB team used on-hand resources to create solutions for PPE deficiencies at the clinic and hospital.

A reusable face shield.
Face Shield
Trident Refit Facility Kings Bay, Ga., shipfitters designed and manufactured reusable face shields for local medical professionals at the Naval Branch Health Clinic in Kings Bayand the regional naval hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.
Photo By: Kimberly Menzies, Navy
VIRIN: 200407-N-XX001-001

TRF-KB craftsmen designed and created face shields, extenders to supplement the rubber-band ear pieces attached to some medical face masks and cloth face coverings, pleated and washable cloth face coverings and prototype intubation chambers.

The sail loft shop produced the cloth face coverings, while the shipfitters designed and manufactured face shields and intubation boxes. Other TRF-KB shops constructed face shields.

The rubber and plastics shop supported the task with preliminary designs of the face shields and prototypes, Meier said.

Face mask “Easy Ear” extenders.
Mask Extenders
Trident Refit Facility Kings Bay, Ga., designed and manufactured face mask extenders with 3D printing machines for local medical professionals at the Naval Branch Health Clinic in Kings Bay and the regional naval hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.
Photo By: Kimberly Menzies, Navy
VIRIN: 200407-N-XX001-4090

The computer numerical control shop produced the extenders by using additive manufacturing technology such as 3D printers, along with producing the preliminary face shield headgear designs. The 3D printer technology enabled TRF-KB to rapidly create prototypes and produce much of the needed PPE.

Despite COVID-19, Meier said, TRF-KB remains mission-focused and committed to supporting the community.

"All of this, along with our own internal efforts to combat the effects of COVID-19 within our own workforce, demonstrates that we have the ability to overcome the challenges the pandemic presents, and also continue with our primary mission," Meier said. "We've stayed solid, didn't have to shut down, and are able to support the medical efforts, too."

Service members stand next to a stack of boxes.
Packaged PPE
Trident Refit Facility Kings Bay, Ga., designed, manufactured and delivered critical personal protective equipment to local health care providers at the Naval Branch Health Clinic in Kings Bay and the regional naval hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.
Photo By: Bert Blanchette, Navy
VIRIN: 200407-N-XX001-4098

Dinius, who now serves as the chief of staff for Submarine Group 10, said he believes the TRF-KB fight against COVID-19 has been a winning effort.

"Every small amount helps. … The TRF-KB team is winning the COVID-19 mitigation fight, but they are also winning the whole-of-government effort to supply our medical heroes with the tools they need on the front lines," he said.

(Kimberly Menzies is assigned to Trident Refit Facility Kings Bay.)