MFE participants reminded to inspect, clean, protect IPE

by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The next mission focused exercise kicks off Aug. 18, and for those who plan to don training gear and demonstrate their ability to survive and operate, individual protective equipment preparation is essential.

Perhaps most importantly, individuals should inspect and clean all components of their Mission-Oriented Protective Posture gear.

"In general for training gear, the gas mask is probably the piece that's most neglected because it is serialized, so it's something we look at the most," said Airman 1st Class Charolette Rigney, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron IPE technician. "But for the normal wear and tear, it would probably be the coats, the trousers and the boots."

"For the boots, because they are bigger than what we normally wear, people tend to drag their feet more, so it puts holes in the bottoms," she added. "For the coats and trousers, the biggest things are the draw straps and also the tape being heated on."

What can be most damaging to the equipment is leaving it unattended in a personal vehicle. When exposed to the high Okinawan temperatures, the equipment can become unserviceable, causing the IPE section to turn them in to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office.

"Probably the biggest infraction is people leaving them in the car," she said. "If you heat duct tape up, it leaves that sticky residue that's on the inside. After a while it's so sticky that we can't re-issue it, and we have to DRMO those items."

Beyond keeping gear out of the heat, the following are some helpful tips and tricks for preserving IPE and getting it ready for the MFE:

For boots, rubber gloves and gas masks, wash with soapy water or 5 percent bleach solution. Inspect each item for holes and wear, and ensure each item has all the associated components (e.g. all three straps should be present on each boot).

Gas mask fit and leak tests must be accomplished after they are issued. However, fit tests do not need to be re-accomplished unless the individual has had a fluctuation of 10 percent in body fat or facial reconstruction.

If a gas mask's external drinking tube becomes detached at any point from the mask itself, it is unserviceable and must be replaced. Gas mask harnesses should also be checked for disrepair and functionality.

For bags, coats, trousers and white cotton glove inserts, either machine wash or dry clean as necessary. Simulated M-9 tape should be removed before washing and replaced after the items are dry. Also be sure to inspect each draw strings, buttons and zippers for wear and functionality.

Additionally, check that the helmet has all six pads, a working harness and no missing screws. Check that the canteen has a gas mask adapter cap, the flak vest remains closed over the coat, the web belt fits securely over all gear and suspenders clip properly.

If an IPE item becomes unserviceable during the exercise or for more information on equipment, contact 18th LRS's IPE at 634-5507.

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