The events of the last couple of weeks has shook me to my very core. NBC Warfare is back.
Image courtesy of Armored Vehicles
I talk about my times as an Army Medic. Prior to my becoming a medic I was what back then was called a 54E. A Nuclear Biological Chemical warfare specialist. We were called back them as glorified car wash specialist. Your first few years and ranks as an Echo are decontamination. A few of us were selected as NBC reconnaissance. We went out and found the contaminated areas and set clear lanes. You eventually were trained to forecast weather for both decon and for employment of agents.
Fort McClellan was the main Army post for the NBC School. And we had MP’s there as well. So you can imagine the fights at the Green Dragon Inn. Big Mac is the most contaminated place in the United States. We had the main live agent training chamber for NATO and a lot of agents were stored there and leaked there. Oh and Monsanto was on the base also
NBC warfare scares me. There are not many things that do. Nuclear not so much. The best places to be in a nuclear attack are ground zero or 1000 km away. Chemical. Well yes you can defend against it and you can detect it but……… And Bio. That one scares the crap out of me. You see a bio attack isn’t “today” it was 7-30 days AGO. Then the incubation period. You never know when there was an attack until it’s too late.
Chemical is fast brutal and does not care about skin color race sex sexual preferences anything. It just kills. Equal Opportunity Killer.
These are the main types of agents today:
- Vesicating or blistering agents (eg, mustards, lewisite)
- Respiratory agents (eg, chlorine, phosgene, diphosgene)
- Antimuscarinic agents (eg, anticholinergic compounds)
- Opioid agents (opioid derivatives) 
- Riot control agents (eg, pepper gas,CS)
- Vomiting agents (eg, adamsite)
- Nerve agents (eg, sarin, soman, cyclosarin, tabun, VX)
Now some think that the nerve agents and the anticholinergic agents are the same. They work very differently. Take VX It is an organophosphate. It works by blocking acetylcholinesterase in between nerve cells. Atropine acts as a temporary bridge that can take the place of the acetylcholinesterase and allow normal (or mostly normal) nerve function. Antimuscarinic agents on the other hand act like Atropine that has been supercharged. And it gives the same effects as nerve agents but when atropine is administered it makes things worse. Fortunately they are not widely used any more. BZ was the main one we tried in the 60s and 70s .
Chemical warfare is very dependent on weather. The more humid and still the air the better it works. Take for example the horror that happened in Syria a few weeks ago. If that gas attacked occurred in say Tupelo Mississippi the death toll would have been 10 times that amount. Humidity makes the agents stick better and last longer. The gas used in Syria, Sarin is a heavier than air gas but breaks down fairly quickly in the desert. Breaking down in hours. The more liquid agents last far longer. In France areas that were hit by Mustard gas in WW1 are still considered toxic and occasionally live pockets are found. Chemical warfare is the easiest to defend against. Lye mixed with water is the main method of decontamination and knowing your weather and wind patterns along with avoiding the low lying areas. The best early warning for chemical if you do not have an M8 series chemical alarm is watch you wild life. Birds are the first to be effected. You see dead birds or no birds, as we used to say in the Army, Unass ther AO ASAP!
I’ll be totally honest Bio scares the crap out of me. There is no real defense there is no real early warning, you never knew when you were attacked. You could have been hit hours ago or weeks ago. The best defense is to stay as healthy as possible pay attention to your surroundings IE animals and birds and control your water and food supplies carefully.
This is the one that people have their panties in a wad over. Kim Jung Un. or as I like to refer to him as Fatboy with bad Haircut. He is rattling his sabers trying his damdest to launch a missile and fails spectacularly. Now yes he can hit S Korea, and Japan and maybe as far a Guam. He says he can hit California and maybe Hawaii. But in reality the only US soil he could possibly hit is the southern Aleutian Islands. The threat of actually landing a nuke on US soil in MY opinion is minimal. The biggest risk of his Fatboyisnness is lobbing one high enough and close enough to the US mainland and then doing what is called an airburst and releasing an EMP pulse and damaging electronics for hundreds of miles. I the 1960 project Starfish Prime detonated a W49 warhead of 1.4 megatons 400 km in the atmosphere damaged 1960s electronics as far away as Hawaii. That is the biggest threat we have from him…….until he does that and we turn N Korea into a glass parking lot. Then folks think Fukushima was bad. Just wait for the world wide fallout from multiple ground bursts. The first week of it is the worst, then it drops very rapidly. From studies done in the 50s and 60s it was shown that for 7 fold increase in time fallout radiation drops by 90%. Example so if the level at 1 hour post-blast is 1000 rads/hour, then after 7 hours, it will be about 100 rads/hour, and after 2 days and an hour, 10 rads/hour. The “dirt” radiation is a different story. A ground burst to about 400 meters will cause massive ground irradiation and fallout from the bomb “sucking” the dirt up into it. The ionising radiation would normally decrease at the same rate as fallout except what we call secondary and tertiary radiation. This is caused by the fission of the elements in the ground. This lasts longer. But today if you go to Hiroshima or Nagasaki the radiation at ground zero is just barely above the natural background. Now the Trinity site here in NM has a higher background radiation than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But not by much. About 1-2 millirems and hour. The Trinitite the glass that is found there is double that. The reason for the higher dose is the bomb was detonated 100 feet off the ground in a metal tower.
Now one question I get when I talk about radiation and fallout is what about Fukishima and Chernobyl? Easy. different fission reactions. Bombs are a critical mass that explodes. The material is squeezed to immense pressure and temps then it explodes. Reactors on the other hand move much more slowly and when they go out of control they get to high heat but never reach critical mass since the rods are seperated by a damper. And the main reason is that reactors only use a maximum of a 20% “enrichment” of U235 whereas nuclear bombs use a minimum of 80%. So reactors cannot explode, but they being a runaway reaction will start reacting with the containment vessels and other materials and the end result is the nasty isotopes like Cesium 134 and 137 Strontium 90 and iodine 131 Cesium 134 has a half life of 2 years 137 30 years and 8 days for Iodine 131. So what’s the big deal with the thousands of years of contamination? The fuel and waste of the fuel. That lasts for centuries. And it keeps causing reactions with the surrounding materials and making more of the short term elements. That is the danger. So what about the “Anti Radiation Pill”? Potassium iodide and iodate? Ummmm totally useless. Unless you are next to the reactor and eating and drinking the water and food that is growing on the reactor. Iodine 131 has a half life of 8 days. So to protect yourself from Iodine contamination. Do not eat or drink next to a melted down reactor.
Nukes scare me also. But the effects can be defended against pretty easily. The formula for safety in the the Xray field is the inverse square law.. Here is an example of it
A source is producing an intensity of 456 R/h at one foot from the source. What would be the distance in feet to the 100, 5, and 2 mR/h boundaries.
Convert Rem per hour to mRem per hour
456R/h x 1000 = 456,000 mR/h
Rework the equation to solve for D2
Plug in the known values and solve
D2= 67.5 feet
Using this equation the 100mR/h boundary would be 68 feet, the 5mR/h boundary would be 301.99 feet, and the 2mR/h boundary would be 477.5 feet.
US Army 54E40 ANCOC course
As you can see radiation drops rapidly with distance.
The last part I want to talk about is also nuclear related. It’s the “dirty bombs” These devices are not highly explosive but a standard chemical explosive that surrounded by nuclear waste and other isotopes then detonated. This doesnt cause a fission reaction but it spreads waste everyone and it is horribly dirty and dangerous. These are the bigger worry to us than a full fledged nuke. They spread isotopes that last for thousands of years and are deadly. This is the real danger to us. Some terrorist group breaks into a cancer center and steals the isotopes used to cure cancer. A big enough bomb with the right weather can make a city the size of Albuquerque almost uninhabitable due to low doses of “dirty” radiation.
So as usual I rambled on. So what can the prepared prepper do? First do not spend all your money on buying potassium iodide. Buy a bottle or two and put them away. Keep healthy, That is a GREAT defense, it would not hurt to purchase GOOD protective gear. Stay away from the 19.95 surplus Yugoslavian POS’s masks. And also surplus US Army MOPP suits are great for keeping warm but they degrade over time. Dupont tyvek protective gear can be bought for under 50 bucks and will last to get you out of a contaminated area. Surplus “gas” masks are death waiting to happen.
There is nothing to show that they were maintained in a proper environment so for the price of a USED 30 year old m17 series mask with filters that were made in 1995 you can buy a modern protective mask that will last to get you out of an area safely. And new filters are available and cheap.
NBC defense is not sitting on you butt waiting to die. NBC defense is proactive training and purchasing the proper equipment. NEW MILSPEC is ALWAYS optimal. But unaffordable for most people. But thankfully the civilian market makes equipment that is not durable enough for extended combat operations but for the prepared prepper it will get you and your family out of a contaminated area and get to safety.
This Sunday 4-30-17 I will be a guest on Cat Ellis The Herbal Prepper
Show The Herbal Prepper Live on the Prepper Broadcasting Network talking on this exact topic. Cat’s show is live at 1600 PDT 1900 EDT
Good quality NBC Gear is VITAL to surviving that environment The military Surplus stuff that a lot of people buy looks Tacticool…but will kill you if exposed to a chemical environment. Lucky for us civilian manufacturers make good quality affordable protective equipment for our modern chemical industry. Combine that with a NEW Israeli style mask and NATO filters you are set to survive that environment.
Here is a small list of items that are available and will work.
The reason I have 2 filters listed is the green one is a good certified NBC filter. But was made in 2004 And is good till 2024. The black one is current manufacture good for 20 years from manufacture date. The one area of NBC defense that is best to get from the Surplus store is the NBC over boots. In the civilian world there is nothing that works as well that is as easy to store. Tyvek is not as durable as the standard MOPP suits. You can escape and survive a chemical environment in one but fighting in one may be troublesome since they are not designed for combat. Also Tyvek is VERY visible. That is something to consider. You can however dull the color with paint for plastics. It doesnt last long but will help give you that little bit more of concealability
Next week. Decontamination. The Why, how and don’t even think about doing THAT