Coughing and choking, with tears streaming down his face, Cpl. Creston Jones signed up in style for two more years in the Army.
Jones, an infantry team leader with the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson, Colorado, reenlisted April 1, mask off, in a gas chamber in between training.
The video, which Jones posted on his Facebook page, has since gone viral on social media, garnering more than 942,300 views.
"It was a spur of the moment thing," Jones, 23, said Tuesday. "A couple guys in my platoon, we were joking about it, and I asked the platoon if I should do it, and everybody raised their hand."
The soldiers, with 3rd Platoon, A Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, were already scheduled for gas chamber training, Jones said, so the timing worked out perfectly.
Jones, who will be promoted to sergeant May 1, said it wasn't difficult to convince his platoon leader, 1st Lt. Travis Uminski, to participate.
"We figured since it was my first reenlistment, and he was the new PL and it was his first re-enlistment [oath], it would be memorable for him," Jones said. "He said yes right off the bat."
The men initially didn't plan on taking off their gas masks, Jones said.
"We were going to do it with the masks on, but we figured it would be more exciting if we took them off," he said. "When I walked in there, I thought, 'this isn't so bad.' But when I took my mask off, it just hit me hard."
Uminski, who has led 3rd Platoon for about five months, said he was more nervous about administering the oath correctly. But he also did not anticipate he'd be doing it without a mask in a gas chamber, he said.
"I thought it would make things more interesting," the officer said. "There were times where I was thinking, 'what was I thinking agreeing to this?' but in the end, I was glad we did it."
As the gas stung his eyes and nose, Jones struggled to recite the oath of enlistment.
"It was the worst thing ever," he said. "But after it was done, it felt good. My platoon was proud of me. It was about the platoon. If it wasn't for them, I probably wouldn't have been in there."
Uminski said he believes his soldiers enjoyed the ceremony.
""It was the worst thing ever," Cpl. Creston Jones said, but it was worth it.
Photo Credit: Screen shot
"They always like to see the guys go through hardship together like that," he said.
The men in the 3rd Platoon are close, Jones said.
"The way everybody just gravitates towards each other, we all love each other," he said. "If we have a problem, we go to that person. It's our leadership, from our PL to our platoon sergeant to our commander. We just have a tight-knit group."
Jones, who joined the Army in October 2012 and hopes to make it a career, estimates he was probably in the gas chamber without a mask for about two minutes.
His soldiers and platoon mates "loved it," Jones said.
"It was a morale booster," he said. "Everybody was excited when we got out there."
Jones said he's surprised by the reaction to his re-enlistment video.
"I posted it just for my family, and it blew up from there," he said. "The response has been great."
And his advice to new soldiers:
"The Army is what you make it. it's all on you and how your career goes, good or bad. It's what you make it out to be."
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.