NBC Weapons: May 15, 2003


During the Iraq campaign, all American troops were equipped with gas masks and chemical protective suits. There were frequent drills for getting gasmasks and/or  chemical protective suits on. Most troops could get the gas masks on in a few seconds, although it took up to two minutes to get into the chemical protective suits. Because the temperature often went over 120 degrees, troops collapsing from heat stroke while wearing gas masks and protective suits became a real possibility. Many marines partially solved the problem by wearing nothing under their protective suits. There were other problems with the gas masks. The gas mask carriers were poorly designed, as there was no enough room for extra injectors or special medications required in case chemical or biological weapons were used. There was also not enough room for the extra gas mask filter. The carrier needs more compartments and has to be larger to hold all gas mask accessories and chemical antidotes now being issued. There were also not enough Gas Mask Voice Amplifiers, which made it easier for users to make themselves heard and understood when wearing the mask. These devices got good reviews, but there were not enough of them.


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