Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Soldier Wearing Gas Mask

This picture was taken in 1942 in Corpus Christi, Texas. It shows a soldier training for chemical warfare, wearing a gas mask, and other protective clothing.


  1. Despite all of the preparations, the thing is, would those suits actually have done any good?

  2. That is a step up from merely a gas mask. While inhaled gases can be fatal, some substances should not make skin contact.

    And since 1942 there should be no doubt that protective gear has been highly improved.

  3. Kent Says

    I am a pro photographer and photo historian which is why I love PJM's site.

    All these gas mask photos over the last days were made with different purposes in mind. My personal favorite gas mask photo is Edward Weston's "Civilian Defense 1942" for its absurdity and dark humor.

    Weston's photo, a nude, actually confronts the point Smart Girl and Brother Dave make, whether the suit would have done any good.

  4. Okay we have a gas mask fixation...

    ;) S

  5. I am getting a little there something we should know?!?! :)

  6. pour quelle occasion ils mettaient des masques???

    Sorry! I m frensh, and a like your site!!!

  7. With Obama in office, you just never know. (I will now duck and cover.)


  8. I wonder if a time will come when people will look at this kind of pictures and they will not know whether this is a Halloween suit or some kind of new trend in the fashion without any instant association with war, fear, human stupidity.

    I hope such times will come and they will not be worse than ours (as in The Brave New World).

    P.S. SmartGirl: "The Best Years..." is already on my laptop. I will come back with comments. :)

  9. Don't forget that our troops are still trained in chemical warfare. Several times during the second invasion of Iraq columns were stopped while protective gear was donned.

    Chemical warfare, despite current 'treaties' and 'agreements', is a fearsome thought. Somewhere I read that the French have a large storehouse of WW I chemical weapons that are to unstable to move... Perhaps our French reader can elaborate???

    The gas masks and chemical suits work. They are uncomfortable, restrict movement, and are hot, but given the alternative...

  10. MBadragan:

    I'll look forward to what you think.

    My father is a WWII veteran, and my mother's brother was killed on the USS Yorktown in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

  11. SmartGirl, are you really my sister or something? My father is a WWII Veteran and my mother's brother Jim was killed in Burma, fighting with Merrill's Marauders.

    Oh, and I received your message from my blog. Send me your email the same way and I'll send you mine.

    I love these gas mask pictures! I want a gas mask too, I feel left out....

  12. Gas masks are not only the accoutrement of the military. They are used regularly by police in the event tear gas has been deployed. Further, police and hazmat teams wear them, or at least a source of clean air, in the instance of dangerous chemicals and in Japan when the ricin was released in the subway that time.

  13. Heather:

    I just got your message!!!

    The stars must be in some sort of alignment, or maybe we're related.

    I didn't have have time to check this blog yesterday, because my mother is in the hospital, so I'll check your blog later.

    Re the gas masks, I want to "duck and cover" every time I see these photos.


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