Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Army Stories: Smoking Can Be Hazardous

Many years ago in a nasty land far away, I was held against my will in a place called Fort Bliss, Texas. Generally medics are well respected and sometimes even liked, but not always. This is the story of a man at that armpit of a place who didn't like medics. A man who did bad things to them. I know, because I was one.

Our Headquarters Battery First Sergeant was the mean man of whom I spoke. For some reason he didn't like the medical squad I was assigned to. I think he might of had a bad encounter with one at some time in his career. Maybe he was once married to a medic. I didn't know or care and it really didn't matter. The point is, that he went out of his way to make life very difficult for us.

I won't go into the details to all the rather cruel things he did, but suffice it to say that after a year or so of his abuse, I'd had enough.

Several times a year I was sent out to medically cover the 'gas chamber'. This is where students are subjected to the effects of CS (tear) gas. The scenario differs from place to place but the results are the same.

The students, wearing protective masks, are lead into a small building or room where the gas is present. They get a chance to see that a properly fitted mask will protect them from what ever is in the air. Then they have to take it off.

It's actually kind of fun to watch them running blindingly out the far door, tears in their eyes and snot running freely from their noses. I've been gassed on several occasions and should be more sympathetic, but it really is hilarious.

This particular tear gas can either be burned or just sprinkled on the floor. Walking around on it, kicks it up into the air and the desired effect is achieved.

One day I hung around after everyone else was gone. The door to the gas chamber was never locked, why bother. So I put on my mask and gathered up some of the loose powder on the floor. I put it in a plastic bag -for later use.

Smoking was still permitted in government buildings at that time, and my First Sergeant loved to smoke. A few days later I had the chance to exact revenge. When no one was around, I dumped the pilfered tear gas into his almost full ash tray. When he put out his next cigarette, the power ignited and filled his office with choking fumes.

That next morning, at our first formation, he mentioned the incident. While he had no proof as to who did it, he stared at the medics.

The harassment didn't end but it did lessen. I guess he didn't really want to find out what someone might have had planned for next the time. Let's just say that he loved his coffee too and some laxatives are all but tasteless.

Get yourself over to and give this post a smilie face, or else.

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