YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea - Post firemen, military police, American civilian employees, Korean Service Corps employees, Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army troops and U.S. Soldiers of all ranks filed through lines lined with boxes of personal protective gear designed to protect the recipients in a chemically or biologically contaminated environment.

The Individual Chemical Equipment Management Program is in the process of issuing replacement chemical protective gear for all Soldiers around the Korean Peninsula.

The program started in the south in Area IV and is working its way north to Area I.

"All Korean Nationals, KSC, DOD civilians and all Army Soldiers will receive the fielding," said Thurston Smalls, the civilian in charge of the ICEMP at Camp Humphreys.

In the past, personal protective gear for chemical environments was issued to Soldiers by their respective companies when the Soldier processed into their unit, said Capt. Jeffery Phillipy, supply officer for 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Now the Army will now track the shelf life of ICEMP and issue the equipment through the Mobility Inventory Control Accountability System maintained by the Central Issue Facility, Phillipy elaborated.

Soldiers will receive two sets of the uniforms, two helmet covers, two boots, two canisters, two gloves and chemical protection papers, stated Phillipy. Each trouser, coat, pair of boats and gloves comes in a vacuumed sealed bag to preserve the life of the item.

"The shelf life depends on the item," said Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Gibson of Headquarters Company, 1st Signal Brigade, working at the Yongsan ICEMP issue point.

"The shelf life of the coats and trousers is currently set at 15 years. After 15 years, they will be tested at a lab by lot number to determine if the coats and/or trousers, of that lot number, are still serviceable," Gibson clarified.

If one of the sealed packages is punctured or opened during the issuing period, the Soldiers can bring the item back to the issuing point for a replacement, said Maj. Blake Little Sr., Eighth Army G-4 support operations officer and action officer for the ICEMP fielding.

Eighth Army Soldiers oin Yongsan Garrison seemed to appreciate the U.S. Army's efforts to improve their readiness.

"I think it's better. It's easier to carry around," said Sgt. Javier Ruiz, one of the Eighth Army Soldiers receiving the fielding. "Also, if something does happen, everybody has the same thing and we know we are good."

According to Eighth Army officials, it is imperative Soldiers report to the issue points to receive their new chemical equipment.

Following the completion of the fielding, Soldiers, KATUSAs and civilian personnel will receive and turn in their individual chemical equipment while in or out processing at the Central Issue Facility.