Airmen turn pallets into furniture
April 19, 2022 | 1:28 pm CDT

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Scott Brantley, left, cyber transport technician, 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, Airman 1st Class Ejlyn Smith, back, network systems operator, 386th ECS, and Master Sgt. Jessica Ancheta, first sergeant for the 386th ECS, work on projects made from wooden pallets at the U-Fix-It warehouse at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, April 7, 2022.

Photo By Senior Airman Daira Jackson

ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait — For airmen who live in dorm rooms, they often do not have a place for visitors to sit. That may change, however. The Airmen now have the option of building a bench or chair out of wood, reports Senior Airman Daira Jackson, from the 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron.

Project Salvage Pallets is a new upcycle program that allows service members to use salvaged wooden pallets to create furniture for airmen dorms and common areas. This DIY program, located at the U-Fix-It shop, is a chance for service members to learn and share woodworking skills with each other.

“I noticed when I get off shift, there's people talking on the stairs, or sitting on water bottle boxes, trying to talk on the phone [to] loved ones, which are not good common areas,” said Airman 1st Class Ejlyn Smith, network systems operator, 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron. “You can't talk in your room because you have a roommate. So we're just building [furniture] in hopes to make it easier to have some sort of area for them to talk.”

The 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron’s self-help shop, known here as U-Fix-It, provides material and supply options for anyone in need of supplies that range from shower curtains and showerheads to sandpaper, nails, paint, brushes, and many other items needed to provide comfortable work environments and personal spaces.

The shop provides customers and facility managers the tools to carry out mission-enhancing projects or do-it-yourself repairs.

“[PSP at U-Fix-It is] a place where you can find purpose and make a difference,” said Master Sgt. Jessica Ancheta, first sergeant for the 386th ECS. “It's a place to come together, teach some skills, and think about other people instead of yourself.”

Tools that can be signed out by individuals for a 24-hour period include, but are not limited to, measuring devices, drill bits, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, cordless power drills, saws, stud finders, and ladders.

“I just think it's amazing what these airmen have been able to do—come together and do what started as just a thought process,” said Ancheta.

Volunteers to build projects are needed

“Originally, I volunteered because it was for us, but I also like working with my hands,” said Airman 1st Class Scott Brantley, cyber transport technician, 386th ECS. “I did carpentry for probably around four years before the military, so I'm used to nail guns, hammers, and nails. I enjoy it.”

Build days are every Thursday and Saturday (until projects are completed) from 1300-1500 at U-Fix-It (Bldg. 2720). Additionally, if you have any pallets you’d like to donate, let Airman 1st Class Ejlyn Smith know or drop them off on the side of U-Fix-It. For more information, contact Airman 1st Class Ejlyn Smith at 318-442-2666.

“We're hoping to continue to grow this project and to hopefully outfit more dorms than just our own [with] furniture,” said Ancheta, who deployed from the 773d Logistics Readiness Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. “I would just really like to thank Airman Smith for bringing up [this project] because it's ideas like those that help us identify things that other people are needing.”

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