Schofield Set To Destroy Chemical Weapons

Colonel Matthew Margotta
Colonel Matthew Margotta

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (KHNL)-- Following the first World War the U-S Army stored chemical weapons at Schofield Barracks. They contained liquid chemicals harmful to the enemy. Agents so strong they caused choking and harmful reactions. Now the army is set to destroy these weapons.

The transportable detonation chamber or T-D-C will be used to dispose of 71 chemical munitions found on Schofield Barracks a couple of years ago.

"They were discovered as part of unexploded ordinance clearing operations that occurred between June 2004 and Sept 2006. As I mentioned these munitions are extremely old date back to the period between World War I and World war II, " explains Colonel Matthew Margotta.

The chamber is a proven method having destroyed more than one hundred chemical munitions in the United Kingdom. The Army maintains no chemical vapors will be released.

"The TDC is a fully contained system what that means is no part of the operation you are going to see here today has the capability to impact our environment."

The tour begins where disposal experts suit up.

"What I'm holding is one of the key pieces of personal protective equipment the M-40 military mask with an apron hood, says project manager Dave Hoffman."

Inside the chamber the old chemical munition is wrapped up and placed in a demolition shell. Most are smaller than this demonstration munition.

The chamber is the size of a storage shed made of strong steel. The weapon and the liquid agent are exploded by a blast and then vaporized by steam.

All the vapors and byproducts are then sent through two more chemical processes and the entire process is monitored closely. The Army does not use or train with chemical weapons today following an international treaty.

A team of international observers will document the disposal of the chemical weapons over the next three weeks.