Young Army Private has meltdown during basic training gas chamber exercise

Screenshot from video below

It goes a little something like this: all recruits -from the hardest of infantrymen to the softest of admin clerks- are required to enter a room full of aeresolized riot control agent in order to not only develop an appreciation for their nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection gear, but also learn how to maintain a clear head under pressure, accomplishing the mission at all costs.

Some…handle it better than others, but most everyone comes out of the chamber a coughing, slobbery, disoriented and snot-nosed mess.

Marched into the chamber, recruits are usually wearing their masks and immediately notice the haze of the CS gas, which is either produced using CS grenades or -more commonly- activating CS tablets. In addition to the haze, the lifeless and bored eyes of their cadre are all that can be seen from behind the gas-masked men and women awaiting their arrival.

Even with one’s gas mask on, a peculiar taste and smell is in the air, which is different for a lot of people. For example, one veteran described it as “sour,” while another described it as “the smell of a Big Red chewing gum wrapper.” No matter what it smells like, everyone knows they’re about to get a whiff of it.

Sure enough, the order is given to remove masks, resulting in an ensuing panic as recruits are overcome with the sensation of not being able to breathe. Some power through, some struggle and others panic or resort to outright theatrics. Many a tale has come from the gas chamber, often involving a recruit (hilariously) harming themselves in a fit of sheer panic.

All in all, however, it isn’t that bad and the recruits aren’t in any serious danger. Millions have gone before and millions will follow. It’s a real gas, baby.

That said, there’s always that one recruit -or at least one- that lets panic take over and cranks it up to eleven, performing a bizarre pageantry of simulated death not seen since the World War I film All Quiet on the Western Front.

Choking for dear life on something similar to what’s put in tiny cans and issued to college girls and mall cops, these recruits may have started for the theatrics, only to learn that going all out simply makes things worse. Slobbering with foam and mucous, they are often seen slumping to the ground, screaming in between coughs or even dashing out the door against orders, often hitting a tree that always seems to be strategically placed right outside of the exit.

A good example can be seen coming out of the training-designated combat engineer OSUT (one stop unit training) gas chamber in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, as female Private chokes dramatically, so stricken down by the gas that she can’t seem to figure out how to follow her fellow recruits. While she eventually finds her bearings, she’s berated for her dramatics by a drill sergeant, who reminds her that “it is not that bad.”

In any case, such gas pariahs are at the very least good for a laugh and a memory their comrades won’t soon forget.

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