Getting tear gassed sucks! I remember watching the news and seeing protestors being shot with tear gas and the people instead of running just kept coming and fighting the riot police in the streets. I thought to myself “Why does the Police even bother with tear gas if it does not prevent people from fighting?”
It was not until i got a taste of the tear gas did i realize that that shit is no joke!
This happened while in Boot Camp i was reaching towards the end of my training and had a few more sections to cover one being firearms training as well as learning to use a Gas Mask properly.
After firearms training i was feeling good since i was able to get good shots with my side arm at the time so i was all smiles. The Drill Instructor lined us up and we headed to another large building which had a large gym. We marched towards the gym and i noticed there were a bunch of gas masks nicely lined up on the floor.
We each lined up behind a gas mask and waited at attention while the instructor spoke. He told us that we are going to go through a simulation in which tear gas was going to be used. I was like “Oh Boy!” this shit is going to be a cake walk or so i thought.
After of about an hour of how to properly set the straps so that you could don on and off the mask quickly and the instructors timing us on how quickly we had to put on the masks. We had to have the mask on and tight within 8 seconds any second more according to them you would have been dead.
As we stood in the “At Ease” all of the sudden another group who had went before came in coughing and tearing like crazy. Their eyes were blood shot and watery. When i saw that it left me a little nervous and uneasy. Maybe i was wrong about tear gas being weak.
The instructors led us outside by this time we had our masks on and they led us to this long and narrow one story building. We marched in and were shoulder to shoulder facing the instructor.
Now here were it gets crazy! The instructor began explaining what he was going to do and he also gave us instructions on when to remove the mask and once the mask was removed you had to walk to the door say your name and last four number of your SS.
I thought this cant be too hard! The instructor pulled out what looked like a white capsule broke it in half and placed it on a hot tray and you heard it sizzle.
Its was so quiet in that place you could begin to hear the rapid breathing starting up which happens when you are nervous. Even me i was breathing pretty rapidly.
Nothing was said for like a minute. I guess they waited to make sure the gas permeates through the whole area inside where we were at.
Then the order came to “Remove Masks!” everyone at the same time removed their mask. When i removed my mask i quickly felt my eyes start to burn. I felt my skin itch like crazy and once i took a breath i began to cough non-stop. We stood there for a few seconds before they began to let us out quickly. Saying your last name and last four of your SS was nearly impossible!
So here i was with a bunch of recruits with my hands and arms up while coughing, having snots freely coming out of my nose and my eyes blood shot and skin feeling like its burning. After a few minutes of coughing and clearing of the sinuses. They gave us water to wash our faces with so that we could get the tear gas residue off our skin.
After that event i feel a new found of respect for tear gas. I mean if tear gas can do this imagine those soldiers who endured getting caught in Mustard gas must have gone through. Never again will i under estimate something like that again. This was back in 1989 so it has been a several years but still i can remember it plain as day!
In the end don’t mess with Tear Gas! that shit would mess up your day!
Military.com article “Conquer the Gas Chamber” a great read!