Selfridge Airmen Getting New Gas Masks

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Anthony J. Lesterson
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
The M-50 is not a sophisticated weapon of destruction like many would think after hearing its' name. It is the new evolution gas mask that has already started taking the place of the previous generation of masks carried by U.S. military members worldwide.

All 127th Wing Airmen will be issued the M-50 Joint Service General Purpose Mask in January or February in exchange for their old issued masks. With an Operational Readiness Inspection on the horizon in 2013, Wing members need to take the time over the next few months to form a relationship with their new masks which will play an integral role in their future military careers.

The mask itself is expected to be a big hit with wing members because of its many enhanced features.

"I think our Airmen will have a very positive response, they will be much happier (while in the mask) and it will improve our ability to survive and operate in a chemical environment," said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Kaufmann, superintendent of readiness and emergency management for the 127th Civil Engineer Squadron.

The M-50 mask has received vast improvements beyond its forerunner, such as: a 23 percent increase field of view, 50 percent improvement in breathing ability, lighter in weight, dual filters, extended beard, adjustable drinking valve, and it lasts for over 24 hours before replacement filters are needed. The new mask has a self-sealing valve for protection during filter exchange. There will be improved speech capabilities. It is adaptable for use in air traffic control and combat vehicles. In addition, Airmen will likely find it easier to fire their weapons in the M-50. The increased comfort level is one of the first things mentioned when asking fellow Airmen what they think of the new mask.

"I like the new mask. I feel more confident in it," said Staff Sgt. Michelle King, a member of the emergency management flight. "It's more comfortable, it grasps better. You don't have to deal with the hood and it is more user friendly."

Airmen with glasses will receive prescription interchangeable lenses. Airmen will be expected to provide the Medical Group with an eyeglass prescription that is less than a year old in order to receive the new inserts.

Training will be conducted for wing members between January and June. This will include the mask fit test, maintenance training, and the use and features of the mask. Every mask issued to Airmen is used for both training scenarios and while deployed.
"The mask is user friendly and this is a do it yourself mask," said Kaufmann. "You will be the only person maintaining your mask for the time that you have it."

The mask the M-50 replaces has been in service for over 15 years and protected countless military members.