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U.S. Army destroys mustard gas

U.S. Army destroys mustard gas
An unidentified Canadian soldier suffering from mustard gas burns during World War I, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The last ton container of mustard gas agent at the Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas has been destroyed by the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency.

CMA said disposal was completed safely last Friday and marks the end of chemical weapons storage at the facility after nearly seven decades.

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Pine Bluff Chemical Activity, the Army agency that controls the chemical weapon storage site, provided the safe and secure maintenance, storage and transport of approximately 12 percent of the nation's original chemical weapons stockpile, while ensuring maximum protection of the installation and community population and providing treaty compliance, CMA said.

PBCA personnel safely transported the original inventory of chemical weapons in 5,879 Enhanced On-Site Container deliveries from storage to the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. That inventory included 90,409 M55 GB rockets, 19,608 M55 VX rockets, 9,378 M23 VX land mines and 3,703 mustard ton containers.

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"For more than 60 years, the Pine Bluff team stored approximately 3,850 tons of the nation's original chemical agent stockpile," said CMA Director Conrad Whyne. "Today, the Pine Bluff stockpile has been safely disposed of.

"From the very beginning, employees at Pine Bluff and throughout the CMA made safety the cornerstone of our chemical weapons stockpile storage and destruction missions. Today we reap the benefits of their dedication and vigilance."

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The PBCA and PBCDF will begin closure operations, which will continue for approximately two years.

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CMA said it has completed disposal operations and closed facilities in Edgewood, Md.; Newport, Ind.; and Johnston Atoll, located 800 miles southwest of Hawaii.

CMA continues to safely store and destroy chemical weapons stockpiles in Anniston, Ala.; Tooele, Utah; and Umatilla, Ore.CMA also oversees the safe storage of chemical weapons stockpiles in Blue Grass, Ky., and Pueblo, Colo.

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