MCLB Chemical suits protect Marines - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

MCLB Chemical suits protect Marines

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January 17, 2003

Dougherty Co. -- As the threat of war in the Persian Gulf grows, so does the worry over United States military men having to fight nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

The Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base has helped supply the protection suits to the Marines in the Middle East. And they have been trained to use them.

Lance Corporal Robert Davis demonstrates how to put on a Saratoga Suit, short for Suit, Chemical and Biological Protective Carbon Sphere in Marine speak. In case of a chemical or biological attack, the Marine first puts on his gas mask, priming it for breathing.

The Marines work together in teams to put on the Saratoga Suit.

Corporal Ben Patat helps Davis suit up. The boots are the most difficult to put on. Corporal Patat said "When you tie these shoestrings, you have to make sure they are real tight. So nothing gets down in your boots. If any air gets in there, there is no sense putting the boots on."

Then the pants and blouse go on. There is velcro and drawstrings throughout to enclose the suit tightly. The Saratoga Suit weighs 4 and a half pounds, and is extremely hot. The Marines are instructed to drink lots of water.

Lance Corporal Robert Davis said "You put this tube into a canteen and tilt the canteen up. Squeeze it and the water goes down to a tube inside. You just suck in on the tube, and water comes down. You must stay hydrated because it is so hot. You can get dehydrated very easily."

The threat of chemical or biological weapons are very frightening, but the Marines say they trust the suits to protect them.

Corporal Patat said "Yes, it's a little sweaty, but I would rather get sweat than get into chemical warfare. So I think it will be good for it."

The Saratoga Suits headed to the Persian Gulf are a Desert Camouflage Colors. The Saratoga Suits are meant to be used only once during an actual chemical or biological attack. Then they are destroyed.

posted at 4:10 by jimw@walb.com