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American Forces Press Service

Marine Describes Chemical, Biological Defenses

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2003 --The U.S. military will be able to function in a chemical and biological warfare environment, a Marine specialist told The Chris Core Show on ABC radio March 4.

Chief Warrant Officer James Myers, a nuclear, biological and chemical warfare defense specialist from Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., told the radio host that U.S. service members will be able to handle anything Saddam Hussein throws at them.

Core asked about reports of defective protective suits. Myers told him the suits in question are old, and soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines going to the Gulf are equipped with the latest technology. No one is going to the region with a suit that could possibly fail, Myers said.

The NBC specialist also addressed concerns about the heat. He said the protective suits are lighter than previous models and that service members who drink lots of water will be able to function. He also pointed out that the American military fights at night and can hunker down during the heat of the day.

Still, he admitted, it is hot. "Any layer you put on is going to add discomfort," Myers said. "Ideally, if I had to fight, fight in a camouflage uniform with a soft cover. But I need additional protection with body armor and ballistic helmets -- that adds heat.

"The service members out there are going to do what they've always done: They're going to step up to the plate. They're going to do what has to be done, and they're going to find a way to do it."

Myers said service members are vaccinated against the greatest threats of anthrax and smallpox. U.S. service members are protected against chemical and other biological agents.

"We have the best equipment in the world, Myers said. "Our individuals are trained and that's the key to it: training, training, training, and the confidence they develop in that equipment.

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