M.C.L.B. hosts new testing lab - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

M.C.L.B. hosts new testing lab

June 14, 2004

Dougherty County -- Making sure America's troops are safe in case of a chemical or biological attack is the mission of a new lab at the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base. The lab will test military decontamination kits to make sure they work.

Every serviceman and woman in the Middle East and most of the civilians have one of these green foil packs with them at all times. N.B.C. Assessment Manager Jack Hart said "It is not a wet towelette. It is a dry towelette that has an absorbent substance in it."

It's call a M 291 Skin Decontamination Kit, and the troops would use them to remove harmful chemical or biological agents from their skin. Hart said "You just pad on the skin and it absorbs up the anti-agent or contamination you get on the skin."

Because of an overwhelmed lab at the Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas, this lab has been set up at Albany's Marine Base. In operation less than one month, the lab will test decon kits to make sure their shelf life is accurate. Hart said "It will ensure us that our gear is fully capable of meeting a threat. We are doing good things for the troops having to deploy to try to keep them safe."

Everything from testing the kits' foil coverings under a vacuum, to making sure they filter out all the iodine in this tube. Testing that is vital to make sure the decon kits work properly. And an exciting new mission at Albany's base. Project Coordinator William Schreiner said "it's very impressive. And I'm tickled that the Maintenance Center was able to get this program."

With the growing threat of weapons of mass destruction, this new lab at the Albany base will play a vital and growing role in military and homeland defense. Hart said "In the near future we are going to get more and more assets to test. We are producing more suits and kits and decon agents are being produced to support the war."

The Albany lab will not use any live or hazardous chemical or biological elements in their tests. They use only simulates to test equipment. The Albany Marine Base is only the second test lab of it's kind.

Other set aside lab stations have been built in Dallas and Barstow, California. Another is being considered in Alaska, so that different climate conditions can be used for testing.

posted at 4:38 PM by jimw@walb.com

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