“MOPP” stands for “Mission Oriented Protective Posture” and it is basically a sort of structured, buildable “hazmat suit” worn by military personnel. Pronounced like “mop”, it has four main levels of protection:
MOPP 1: You wear the suit, and the gas mask, boots and gloves are carried with you.
MOPP 2: You wear the suit and boots, and the gas mask and gloves are carried.
MOPP 3: You wear the suit, boots, and gas mask, and the gloves are carried.
MOPP 4: You’re wearing it all.
There are, technically, lesser levels called “MOPP 0”, in which you have everything with you in a pack and you can get to it immediately if needed, and below that is “MOPP Ready”, in which you have a gas mask with you and the suit, boots and gloves are available within two hours. You put the gloves on last because it is best that you have the tactile sensation in your hands to perform the other tasks first (you may have to adjust straps, manipulate buttons, snaps, or zippers, and the like) and then put the gloves on last.
The mask we’re talking about in MOPP is, of course, a full gas mask. A rubberized form-fitting face mask with straps for your head, filter canisters, eye lenses, and so on– a whole “Darth Vader” ensemble. The suit is a thick, heavy article of pants and jacket that can be joined together and protects you from chemical and biological contamination. It’s really warm and while it is miserable to wear in hot environments, it is quite comfortable in the winter and I’ve known soldiers who even wore their MOPP suits during winter training for that reason.
Any servicemember who has been in the military for any length of time has, at least once, probably had to wear MOPP gear, even if only for training. Those who are in any sort of combat arms or direct combat support have probably had to wear them for extended periods of time, hours on end no matter the climate, and conduct training in them just like a real-life chemical attack. Soldiers that actually work in the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear; pronounced as “See-Burn”) branch have conducted exercises in full MOPP gear that last for weeks. Under those circumstances, you have to learn how to take meals and use the toilet while maintaining full MOPP protection (thankfully I never had to stay in MOPP gear that long).
Once you’ve done MOPP training, though, this whole thing about putting on a cloth mask? It seems trivial by comparison. I get so used to wearing it sometimes I forget it is there. In cold weather I even kind of appreciate it on my face.
So in this, Joe likens it to a new MOPP level: “MOPP 1/2”, and it is easy going compared to the full thing.