Posted on Nov 30, 2019
SFC Ralph E Kelley
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An Event of Chemical War. Thoughts?

The original reason for shaving came out of the chemical warfare in WW1. The masks they had then were compromised by the beards that some soldiers started with at the beginning of the war.
Commanders in the field ordered new soldiers to be close-shaved head and face prior to transport to the front. It was easier to maintain the 'look' at they front than to shear the soldiers after they arrived. Soldiers were issued a marginally effective protective masks. They also were told to dress in layers of oil-permeated cloth, with its resulting skin rashes in a non-sterile environment.
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The point is these precautions were taken afterwards. At the Battle of Ypres in Belgium, German military launched the first large-scale use of chemical weapons in war. Nearly 170 metric tons of chlorine gas in 5,730 cylinders are buried along a four-mile stretch of the front. In the end more than 1,100 people are killed by the attack and 7,000 are injured.
In the case of Ypres, there were 9000+ causalities, still the chemical agents in the weapons were considered largely ineffective.
The Germans then worked to on new methods of delivering poison gas. Since there were ways to develop defenses against gas attacks, the killing capacity of gas was 'limited' during WWI against prepared soldiers to about ninety thousand fatalities from a total of 1.3 million casualties.
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That holds true today for ground soldiers but realistically a fully sealed body suit is the only answer to the complex war environment that the services will face in a modern hazmat battle environment.
Maybe the services should develop an enclosed environmental suit that can double as the standard battledress.
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My list of needs in chemical protection for the future.
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1.There is a need for either a separate air supply backpack OR a battery powered air filter system.
2. Sealable arms, legs and waist closure that are rigged and durable.
3. Gloves that are still hazmat effective but allow you to use load, fire and maintain most weapons.
4. Weapons modifications to make them more hazmat suit friendly.
5. Boots that are truly Hazmat-durable but you can use without tripping over you feet.
6. A solid piece coverall for the day-to-day field uniforms would nice.
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With the advances today in the use of kinetic body power I think it could be done. Use technology of the body's own movement to charge the fabric interlaced battery systems for micro-electronics.
LEDs were once considered 'impossible'.
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This could either be a hush-rush job or be developed over a 4-5 year process.
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The old Soviet Army used to do live chemical attack exercises that had projected percentages of casualties. Those were exercises where everyone had time to prepare and be fully dressed for the hazmat environment at it start.
Their projected casualties were borne out.
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I ask you to choose anywhere in the world then answer this question - How would US Military personnel fare in a surprise attack?
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1SG (Join to see) - PO1 H Gene Lawrence - PO1 Richard Nyberg - 1SG Steven Imerman - PO3 Lynn Spalding - SGT David A. 'Cowboy' Groth - SSG Donald H "Don" Bates - PO1 William "Chip" Nagel - Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen - Lt Col Charlie Brown - SGT Rick Whitmire - SSgt Joseph Baptist - MAJ Byron O. - SSgt Joseph Baptist - SSgt Terry P. - PO1 Richard Nyberg - 1SG Steven Imerman - SSG Donald H "Don" Bates - Sgt Albert Castro - PO3 Bob McCord -
Edited 8 mo ago
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Responses: 7
CPT Jack Durish
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My understanding is that earlier warriors shaved their beards to deny enemies a hand hold during close combat with bladed weapons.
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SFC Ralph E Kelley
SFC Ralph E Kelley
8 mo
Possibly - WWI did the same for Chemical and the reasons I stated was what my grandfather told me about WW1. Prior to then they had long hair and beards, stashes and bushy sideburns.
To me its the same as eye patches worn for naval boarding actions. Leaders will find a way.
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Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
8 mo
If they got that close lack of a beard probably didn't matter.
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SFC Ralph E Kelley
SFC Ralph E Kelley
8 mo
Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen - So the mask wouldn't leak.
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Sgt Jim Belanus
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as a retired VFD, we were close shaven because of smoke . And I can say without a doubt, you can not get a good seal with a beard using an SCBA
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SFC Ralph E Kelley
SFC Ralph E Kelley
8 mo
I heard that. I've got a Fire & Rescue ASS many years ago. Modern SCBA was just coming out - no more AirPac's.
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Sgt Jim Belanus
Sgt Jim Belanus
8 mo
we went to positive pressure before I retired and that seemed to be way better that the demand type. Don't miss those late nite calls either. thankfully in 25 years only 1 death and 1 fireman injured
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SGT David A. 'Cowboy' Groth
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Thank you for the history share.
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SFC Ralph E Kelley
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SGT David A. 'Cowboy' Groth
SGT David A. 'Cowboy' Groth
8 mo
SFC Ralph E Kelley have a great afternoon.
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