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113 Wing issues new gas mask 
by TSgt Gareth Buckland 
113 WG Public Affairs 
Chaplin (Major) Myrtle Bowen insures there is a good seal of her mask during a gas mask fit test. The D.C. Air National Guard is replacing all MCU-2 A/P gas masks with the new M50 gas mask. The new M50 gas mask has twin conformal filters, which allow 50 percent improvement in breathing resistance, and allows for over 24 hours of protection against chemical or biological agents and radioactive particulate matter. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech Sgt. Gareth Buckland)


1/11/2011 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md -- 8 Jan. 2011 -- Joint Base Andrews, Md. - The 113th Medical Group is replacing Airman's outdated MCU-2A/P gas mask for the newer, more improved and comfortable M50 Joint Service General Purpose gas mask.

The Bioenvironmental staff has been replacing the masks over the last two drill weekends. The new gas mask has many comfort improvements including two conformal filters, which allows a 50 percent improvement in breathing.

"They have redesigned the masks to be more comfortable and provide a higher level of protection," said Lt Andre Slaughter 113th Wing's Bioenvironmental Engineer. "We will probably fit-test over 50 masks today, and we are looking to test a further 150 masks this weekend."

Each member who receives a new mask undergoes the gas fit test, which takes only minutes but enables the member get a better idea of how to wear the new mask.

"With these new masks they fit so well you could wear your normal glasses ... the fit factor is much higher," Slaughter added "In the past the old mask did not fit so well due to the contour of the face."

Many of the Airman who completed the fit test found the mask to be a great improvement of the last.

"I am deploying overseas and would much rather have this mask than the old one," said Tech Sgt. Robert Wise, 113th Vehicle Maintenance Squad.

The previous gas mask MCU -2A/P has been in service for more than fifteen years, the newer M50 offers the same level of protection against chemical, biological and radiological threats as the old style mask; however, has an improved head harness, a wider view, easier access to the drinking tube and dual filters, as well as improved speech capabilities. It also comes with a newly improved carrier, which can be attached to body armor. The Medical Group hopes to have all the members of the D.C. Air National Guard fitted and tested with the new masks within the next few months.