An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.













NEWS | July 18, 2018

Army Reserve vehicle transforms chemical-attack response

By Spc. Justin Snyder Exercise News Day

Tucked into the tree line in a remote training location here called Ward Training Site sits what appears to be a cross between an igloo, a tent and a truck – something resembling a Transformer in one of its various configurations.

But the Chemical Biological Protective Shelter M8E1 is neither Autobot nor Decepticon – rather, it is a state-of-the-art, pop-up decontamination medical tent. This vehicle-mounted mobile shelter is self-deployable and serves as a self-contained protective air-conditioned system that is contamination-free.

“It’s a LMTV [Light Medium Tactical Vehicle] with a ruck,” said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Sharon Bigler, as she shrugged her shoulders forward to simulate putting a rucksack on her back. “That’s pretty much the easiest way to describe it.”

The CBPS M8E1 allows for military support personnel to work safely and easily without having to wear chemical-biological protective clothing. The shelter is 400-square-feet and weighs around 370 pounds. It takes around 20 minutes to set up on average and, with proper management in static mode, the M8E1 can run for roughly 12 hours before it needs to be refueled.

“Everything we know in the medical field is about providing quick and efficient services to injured or sick Soldiers out in the battlefield,” said Sgt. Hassan Scott of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 628th Forward Surgical Team out of Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “Having equipment available to us such as this will not only allow us to be quick and efficient, but it’s a big step in making the Army Reserve an even better equipped unit then we already are when it comes to being combat ready.” 

While able to be used for various medical needs such as housing sick Soldiers, performing various medical functions and as a place to rest during hot weather conditions, the main purpose of the CBPS M8E1 is to be used during chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear warfare protection.

Along with a special entrance for patients arriving via stretcher, there is a pressurized door that air locks to be able to purge patients of contaminants. Both entrances require inhabitants to remain for five minutes to ensure sanitation before entry to the shelter.

Additionally, all separate tents can be linked together via large tubes, creating a sealed pathway for medical professionals to move across. 

For Global Medic, two of the CBPS M8E1s made the trek here with the unit. Having the shelters on display and functioning allows ample training time for Soldiers to learn the system and practice setting it up.

“There are only eight of us on the team who have received the actual training on how to operate the equipment and the functions,” said Scott, who is a native of Hampton, Virginia. “Seeing as we are the only ones with this equipment and that this is something new and something different, being able to provide this knowledge and extend others knowledge out here in the field is invaluable to anybody who wants to learn and grow in this field.”

For the duration the exercise, three Canadian counterparts are joining the U.S. Army Reserve team. Along with adapting to the heat of the California desert and embracing the techniques of the U.S. Army, the Canadians are looking forward to bringing back this technology in hopes that it can make their army a stronger force in the future.

“Our CBRN tents and such are pretty mobile as-is already in the way we set things up, but what they have here is on a whole different level,” said Canadian Armed Forces Capt. Lorne Rumbolt, a 1 Canadian Field Hospital medic out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. “It’s nice to see a different perspective and learn about new technology. I can’t say for sure that we’ll get the same equipment, but I know we’ll definitely take what we learned and try and make ourselves better as a result.”

Kym Williams, an operating nurse out of Canada’s 1 Field Ambulance, said her favorite part of joining the American exercise was not just seeing new equipment, but in the learning.

“The lectures have been the most interesting part - we learn general knowledge on other jobs, but here we’re really getting the details. This is great,” she said.

The crux of the exercise for the Americans, however, was that they could essentially extend the “golden hour.” In fact, their go-to acronym is GHOSTT, which stands for Golden Hour Offset Surgical Treatment Team.

“Our surgical capabilities would extend their lethality within the ‘golden hour’ - which is a time prescribed after a traumatic injury considered the most critical for successful survival treatment - if we are forward deployed with special operations forces this would increase our ability to assist,” said Bigler. 

Though not actually a Transformer, the CBPS M8E1 is transforming the future of chemical-attack response to be whenever and wherever needed, even in remote locations.