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What's the Gas Chamber at Basic Training?

Learn about the gas chamber in this Howcast basic training video with Sergeant Michael Volkin.


My name is Sergeant Volkin, also known as The Volkinator, and I am the author of the Ultimate Basic Training series of books available at One of the most dreaded events at basic training is the gas chamber. So let me tell you exactly what's going to happen, and I'm going to give you some tips to make it a little bit more bearable. First of all, the gas in a gas chamber is just CS gas or tear gas. It's not deadly, it's just a riot control gas. The purpose is to give you confidence in your chemical equipment. So when I was in Iraq when there were scuds exploding around me, I had to know if maybe they were tipped with some kind of gas or chemical. That's why we had our gas masks on our side. Be sure when you get out of the gas chamber to smile because a historian will be there to take pictures of you. So, here's what's gonna happen: You're gonna walk into a room and the drill sergeant will be there. Your face mask will be on and there will be gas all around you. Now, you're not going to smell anything because your gas mask will be what's called cleared, so you're just going to be breathing the air inside the mask. Then your drill sergeant is gonna have you take off your mask and you're gonna breathe the CS gas. Now, don't try to hold your breath because the drill sergeants are going to notice that, they're looking for that. Just breathe it in. It's okay. It'll make your eyes fill up with water and your nose a little bit runny, but that's okay. Once you sing The Star Spangled Banner and rehearse whatever your drill sergeant has to tell you, then you put your mask back on and you do what's called clear your mask. You're gonna take the gas out of your mask and you're gonna be breathing the fresh air in the mask again, and then you're gonna walk out. Please, tip, when you get out of the gas chamber your eyes are going to be burning. That's okay. Don't rub your fingers on your eyes. That's gonna make everything worse. Just raise your arms over your head and the glass will clear out of your system very quickly. Follow these tips and you'll make the basic training gas chamber much more bearable.

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