Historian Sees ECBC’s History as a Story of Innovation
CCDC Chemical Biological Center Public Affairs | May 25th, 2017
Speaking before an overflowing audience, REDECOM Historian Jeff Smart covered material from his recently published book, “A Century of Innovation: The Army's Chemical Biological Defense Program 1917-2017.”
American Soldiers have not had to face chemical or biological weapons in battle since World War I because of the deterrence that comes with having the best protective equipment in the world, according to the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command’s (RDECOM) official historian, Jeff Smart.
Speaking before an overflowing audience that spilled out into an adjoining conference room at ECBC’s Berger Auditorium on May 24, he described the centers 100 year history as the continuous reliance on innovation to overcome challenges.
For example, when American Soldiers arrived in France in 1917, the British were using a good protective mask, but one that relied on an uncomfortable mouthpiece and nose clip that made it hard to talk. The British masks also had a tendency to fog the eye lenses making it hard to see. The French developed a non-fogging design, without the mouthpiece and nose clip called the Tissot design, so U.S. mask designers Waldemar Kops and Randolph Monro combined the best features of both designs to come up with the Kops Tissot Monro mask, which started arriving in the trenches in October 1918. This mask was later designated the M1 mask, the first of a long line of masks leading up to today’s M50 protective mask.