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The E15R3 Protective Mask Headpiece was one of many peculiar designs to come out of U.S. Army Chemical Corps development. While not much is known about the E15R3, it can be deferred that it was developed during trials for a standardized protective mask for liquid oxygen and rocket propellant fume hazards while refueling missile systems. The concept ultimately would not see much light after development and the contract for the standard Rocket Propellant Gas Mask remained the original E15 (ABC-M21).

The arrangement of the E15R3 is a most peculiar design - it consists of a small (and crudely-molded) inner half-mask with a unique 4-to-6-point hybrid head harness/pad system, small front and side voice emitters, and a 60mm thread for an MIIA1 Breathing Hose. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the E15R3 Headpiece is the fact that the half mask itself is built into a winterizing hood, similar to the M1 Winterizing Kit for the M9 Series Masks, however without the accommodations for a side canister and the opening for the lenses replaced with two, large, integrated circular lenses, which are reinforced internally with a small tension spring rod. The presence of this integral hood gave the same liquid oxygen flash-freeze protection as the M1 Winterizing Kit, but arranged into a lightweight, easy to manage protective hood assembly.

The E15R3 Headpiece presumably uses the same M15 Rocket Propellant Canister as the ABC-M21 and may have used a similar harness arrangement. It is unknown what the carrier for the headpiece would have looked like, and given the crude nature of the design, it may never have had one. Other noteworthy things to point out with the design is the fact the MIIA1 Breathing Tube interfaces with the 60mm Thread Assembly by passing directly through the moisture collection pouch via two slits in the material, effectively defeating the function of this feature as well as providing a point of leakage. Additionally, one must acknowledge the questionable presence of a secondary side voice emitter near the chin, and for what its intended function is in that location.

Being as rough and testbed as the design is, few exist. Two are known to remain in the Archives of the Fort Leonard Wood Chemical Warfare Museum, and another exists in the collection of RetroRespirators, whose example formerly belonged to Bart Wilkus of http://nofuture.com/gasmasks.net/.

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