NBC Weapons: May 10, 2003


In late 2002, the U.S. Army was told that it was sending troops to Kuwait for possible operations against Iraq. The army was also instructed to bring sufficient decontamination equipment to deal with the possible use of chemical weapons by Iraq. The proved to be a problem, because the only decontamination gear the army had was fewer than a hundred 35 year old M12 decontamination systems. The M12 heated water, added a decontamination fluid (bleach or soap would do) and allowed the operator to spray it on contaminated vehicles at about 65 gallons a minute, at a pressure of 60-120 PSI. The current inventory of M12s were in no shape for intensive field duty, and it would take several years to design and build a replacement for the M12. So the army engineers in charge of decontamination simply rebuilt the M12s on hand. The old gasoline engine was replaced with a diesel and new controls were installed (that were simpler and easier to use than the old one.) Over 50 of the rebuilt M12 units were delivered before the Iraq campaign began. The Iraqis didn't use chemical weapons, but some of the M12s were used for cleaning vehicles and providing improvised showers for the troops. 


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