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M17 Protective Mask

A sophisticated mask, the M17 featured dual internal filters that provided protection against a broad range of chemical agents. In Vietnam troops commonly wore it to protect against the gas used in flushing enemy troops out of tunnels and bunkers. They also used it when doing “body counts” to block out the putrid smell from rotting corpses.

The M17’s extensive capabilities were rarely required in Vietnam and its weight and bulk made it inconvenient to carry through the dense jungle. As a result the lightweight XM28 mask was developed in 1967 for use by combat troops where only riot control agents (RCA) were being used.

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