Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fort Leonard Wood Museums: Chemical Corps

Francis here with some military postings for all you CCG fans. Beth and I recently went to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, which is home of the United States Army Chemical Corps, Engineers and Military Police. Recently, museums have been built to honor and show the histories of these three storied branches of the Army. We'll be bringing you blog posts about each one of the branches.

The Chemical Corps.

The Chemical Corps of the US Military has been around since the late 1800s, but really saw a swell in numbers during the first world war.

Mortar were used as a delivery system for various kinds of chemical weapons. Gas masks weren't commonplace until 1917, and gas was being used by both sides regularly. Sometimes on a daily basis.

The Chemical Corps museum has a replica WW1 trench you walk through.

The level of detail in these museums is astounding. This chemical laboratory has relics from the time surrounding a very detailed wax statue. Most of the statues are wax figures like you would find in a celebrity wax museum. These figures are much more expensive than regular mannequins.

During WW1, the Cavalry still rode horses, and the chemicals could affect them as well. This display shows various protective masks used through a number of years. You can also see the protective masks working dogs wore to the left of the horse.

There are quite a few creepy artifacts in the museum, including this Disney designed Mickey Mouse gas mask. However, the design was meant to make protection against the very real threat of death by Mustard Gas a little less frightening to children.

Once WWII rolled around, chemical weapons were scarcely used on the battlefield by either side. However, the Chemical Corps helped in the development of flamethrowers and flame tanks.

Today, chemical alarms are constantly taking samples of the air. The slightest detection of something harmful in the air will set off gas alarms. However, in the past the chemical corps didn't have the advanced technology we enjoy today.

The wonderful atomic age and the creepiness that came with the constant fear of Nuclear attacks.

Modern day decontamination and MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) suits show how Soldiers today keep themselves safe in the event of a chemical attack. All Soldiers are trained to be proficient in dressing themselves quickly, decontaminating themselves and continuing on the mission. Today, Soldiers are even able to drink water from their canteens using a special straw attached to the front of the protective mask.

The locations of American Chemical stockpiles which are slowly being dismantled and destroyed. You can't exactly toss Sarin and Mustard gas into the ocean, so careful considerations are taken to make sure all the leftover chemicals are safely disposed of.

Chemical weapons are outlawed in the Geneva Convention, but Chemical Soldiers today use white smoke for concealment and CS, better known as tear gas, for riot control. Many Soldiers are also qualified in various Hazardous Material handling and helped during cleaning and decontamination during the anthrax attacks of 9/11.

The museums are open from 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday. They are on the actual base of Ft. Leonard Wood, but free and open to the public. You'll need a valid photo ID to enter the base.


  1. Are you sure CS is the same as tear gas? I experienced a CS attack,and it was nasty.

    1. It's one of many different kinds of tear gas. It's supposed to be nasty but not lethal


  2. Are you sure CS is the same as tear gas? I experienced a CS attack,and it was nasty.

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