Uncontrollable coughing, sneezing, and teary eyes seem like torture to the average person, but for U.S. military personnel, it’s just another test. That’s because subjecting them to gas irritants is one of the ways the military prepares them for adverse scenarios in real life.
Needless to say, the gas chamber training is an utterly unpleasant experience. It involves subjecting a group of people to CS gas (tear gas) to acclimatize them to reacting effectively in such dire situations. Despite the extremeness of the test, it is surprisingly a part of the military basics in the U.S.
We know that no description can convey the absurd difficulty of the gas chamber test. So, here’s a video that shows some gut-wrenching footage of army personnel undergoing this training.
The U.S. military conducts gas chamber trials as part of its NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) warfare training. This training module teaches the soldiers to react quickly and effectively in order to survive NBC attacks.
What is tear gas? What are its effects?
If you’ve ever heard about police clashes during aggressive protests, chances are you’ve heard about tear gas. It is a popular gas agent used by anti-riot squads globally. Lachrymator is another name for tear gas, whose variants include CS gas, CN gas, Mace, OC gas (pepper spray), etc. Normally, a tear gas grenade is not thrown directly at someone due to the risk of serious injuries. Instead, it is rolled on the ground towards the target.
Exposure to tear gas produces a number of unpleasant sensations in humans. It primarily sensitizes the lacrimal glands in the eyes to produce tears. Other effects that can incapacitate targets are severe eye pain, skin irritation, respiratory pain, bleeding, and even blindness. For training, the military uses CS gas which causes tears, sneezing, coughing, giddiness, and difficulty in breathing.
What happens during the gas chamber training?
The gas chamber exercise usually happens in the early weeks of military training. Before the gas test begins, soldiers are taught how to use the gas mask and other protective gear. Inside the gas chamber, they must be able to wear and adjust their gas mask in just 8 seconds to effectively deal with the threat.
Once they put on their gas mask, they make their way inside the foggy CS gas-filled chamber. Traditionally, the source of CS gas would be a small container such as a coffee can. One after another, the drill supervisor would ask everyone to take off the mask and experience the impact of tear gas. After a while, the supervisor lets the soldiers exit the room one by one, usually without the mask equipped.
Although this seems like a grueling process — and it is — the tolerance and reflex that soldiers develop for facing such scenarios in the future are worth the trouble. Besides tear gas, there are some other interesting things at an anti-riot squad’s disposal as well.