The American Legion Magazine | 10.1.13
By Alan W. Dowd

In desperate need of a quick, efficient, environmentally safe way to tamp down the dust clouds created on battlefield landing zones and even to create battlefield landing zones, the U.S. Armed Forces found a solution at Environmental Products & Applications, creators of Envirotac II—a spray-able soil-stabilization/dust-abatement material that can turn the dustiest, most unstable patch of land into a drivable road or helicopter-ready LZ. The troops who use the wonder material just call it “Rhino Snot.”

Don’t mistake the unpleasant nickname for anything other than a term of endearment. Troops at Camp Rhino in Afghanistan, where the stuff was first used in a combat setting back in 2002, coined the term. As Navy Public Affairs Support Element West reports, “the name just, well, stuck.”

Indeed it did. The people at Environmental Products & Applications liked the troops’ name for their innovative product so much that they adopted—and trademarked—it.

“You can’t give yourself your own nickname. You have to earn it,” Justin Vermillion, vice president of Environmental Products & Applications, said in a recent interview. “Well, we earned that nickname and have a lot of pride in it. I feel there is no better testament in our industry than to proudly say our military chooses to use our product.”

A Navy Public Affairs officer aptly describes Rhino Snot as “a thick, white goop resembling Elmer’s school glue.” As Environmental Products & Applications explains, “when applied to soils or sands, it will penetrate and coat the surface. Upon drying, Envirotac forms a water-proof, UV-resistant, solid bond which binds the soil particles. Increasing the concentration of Envirotac II can create highly durable surface that will be pliable and hard enough to minimize surface damage and withstand heavy traf?c.”

Rhino Snot can even turn soils and sands that have little to no load-bearing capacity into roads, makeshift airstrips and parking lots.

Rhino Snot was used to great effect in Iraq to smother the extremely fine dust created by swarms of helicopters. The troops called Iraq’s dangerous dust “moon dust,” and it played havoc with rotor aircraft. But as Stars and Stripes reported, that ended when combat engineers began spraying Rhino Snot.

According to The Toronto Sun, the Canadian province of Alberta recently approved the use of Rhino Snot in the province’s “ongoing war on dust” in certain towns that still rely on dirt roads.