Soldiers, scientists combine chem-bio expertise

 
U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center scientists and members of the 759th Explosives Ordnance Company practice using a colorimetric method of detecting chemical war agent in munitions. (U.S. Army photo by ECBC Public Affairs)

ECBC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 10, 2015) — U.S. Army scientists traveled to the National Training Center in October to combine their technical expertise with Soldiers who use their chemical and biological solutions in the field.

To gain a greater appreciation of Soldiers’ challenges, eight scientists participated in a new program, Scientist in the Foxhole, at Fort Irwin, California.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency created the program with the U.S. Army 20th CBRNE Command at the beginning of 2015. This trip was the program’s second event.

Scientists were selected from DTRA’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Enterprise. Three were ECBC scientists: Dr. Jennifer Sekowski, Dr. Alex Miklos and Dr. Jason Guicheteau.

“When we arrived, the installation was engaged in a massive training exercise, a force of 5,000 Soldiers against a red team of 1,000 Soldiers staged as an insurgency in a fictitious Middle East country,” Sekowski said. “The National Training Center is over 1,000 square miles with terrain and temperature extremes that closely resemble the conditions in the Middle East.

“The Army had even set up mock villages, and with the help of ECBC training personnel, mock chemical and biological production laboratories and storage areas.”

Army scientists improve biosurveillance technology

Army researchers set up biological sensors for an operational demonstration at a U.S. military installation in the Republic of Korea. (U.S. Army photo)

ECBC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Nov. 2, 2015) — Members of an Army chemical-biological research team set up biological sensors for an operational demonstration at a U.S. military installation in Osan, Republic of Korea.

The Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition, known as JUPITR, is a program led by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, or JPEO-CBD, and supported by the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, or ECBC, will provide unique biological detection capabilities to address the demand for stronger biosurveillance capabilities on the Korean Peninsula.

ECBC scientists and engineers said they brought, “biosurveillance capabilities into the 21st century.”

“What they all had in common is that they were eager to take on something new, to develop new knowledge,” said Jennifer Thermos, the Assessment of Environmental Detection leg lead for Project JUPITR.

“I handpicked them based on their excitement and enthusiasm for taking on a task as challenging as the Assessment of Environmental Detectors leg of Project JUPITR.” Continue reading

Scarf-like mask can protect at a moment’s notice

Army researchers have developed a simple, comfortable wrap styled respiratory protective mask for protection against riot control agents. (U.S. Army photo)

ECBC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 20, 2015) — Army researchers have developed a simple, comfortable wrap-style respiratory protective mask for protection against riot control agents. The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, known as ECBC, is making it as a simple as putting on a surgical mask.

ECBC researchers Dave Caretti, Dan Barker, and Doug Wilke, developed the idea for the solution from specialized operators who expressed a need for a protective mask to protect against riot control agents such as 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, also known as CS, or tear gas.

The operators also wanted a mask that could protect users who have beards, or must operate with other unique head-borne equipment.

Currently, users wear a traditional full general protective mask when disseminating riot agent. This mask is a hard material and the user must remove any existing equipment on their face in order to put it on. This process can take time that operators might not have during emergency situations.

“The solution we envisioned would easily integrate with the user’s helmet, communications headphones and protective eyewear, so that it could provide a simple solution for all users,” Caretti said.

Members of law enforcement who use CS and other riot control agents could also use this type of mask when necessary and avoid wasting time with a traditional full face piece respirator that requires the removal of protective helmets and other head-borne items.

In order to begin work on this proposed solution, Caretti, Barker and Wilke entered their proposal for the mask they called the “Integrated Respiratory and Eye Protective Scarf,” or IREPS to to the research center’s Internal Innovative Development of Employee Advanced Solutions Program. Continue reading

Army researchers design better protective gear

An Apache crew member dons the Joint Service Aircrew Mask during an operations test conducted at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo)

An Apache crew member dons the Joint Service Aircrew Mask during an operations test conducted at Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo)

ECBC Communications

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Chemical-biological protective gear worn by Army pilots and aircrews has evolved to improve survivability in flight.

Engineers at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, are putting design at the forefront of new Mission-Oriented Protective Posture gear, known as MOPP, in order to carefully tailor a suit that addresses specific pilot needs during a given air mission.

Army engineers are working on a chemical-biological protective mask that mitigates thermal burden and hydration issues for flight crews that can also fully integrate with specific current and future aircraft.

“With more than 130 different platforms, five different helmets and a variety of aircrew equipment, focusing on one mask design became difficult,” said Don Kilduff, an ECBC engineer who has supported JSAM since its inception. “Over time, the program split into different systems to meet the specific needs across the DOD aviation community.”

The Joint Service Aircrew Mask, known as JSAM, was initiated in 1999 by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and the Joint Project Manager for Protection.

The goal of the program is to provide individual respiratory, ocular and percutaneous protection from chemical and biological warfare agents and radiological particulates for pilots and aircrew.

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Chemical-biological researchers deliver results

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center engineers fielded the next-generation M50 mask to U.S. Soldiers stationed in Japan and Korea.

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center engineers fielded the next-generation M50 mask to U.S. Soldiers stationed in Japan and Korea.

Soldiers stay lethal in any environment

ECBC Public Affairs

Choking, watering eyes, blistering skin and convulsions are symptoms of imminent death from a chemical weapons attack. The lethality of such attacks, most recently in August 2013 in Syria, sends tremors across the globe.

For Soldiers, chemical weapons present a real danger on the battlefield that requires advanced technology to keep them safe. The Army is investing in science and technology to enable Soldiers to operate in a chemical-biological threat environment.

Scientists and researchers at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center work to provide better protective equipment, such as the iconic protective mask. As threats evolve, ECBC engineers fielded the next-generation M50 mask to Soldiers stationed in Japan and Korea. The Army is fielding more than 1 million of these masks across the Department of Defense.

“I noticed the difference between the M50 and the old M40 mask as soon as I put it on,” said Sgt. James Tuthill, a training noncommissioned officer stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. “I train Marines to be prepared for chemical, biological and radiological hot zones, and this mask provides them with better visibility, easier breathing and greater comfort wearing it. On top of all that, it just looks cool.”

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