CAMP PENDLETON, CA — Testing the effectiveness of the M50 Joint Service General Purpose Mask in a room filled with tear gas is a staple of annual training events for Marines since boot camp, but one Marine refuses to participate, insisting that her chain of command is comprised of fascists typical of Nazi Germany.
Private First Class Dalia Bettelheim says there is a little-known Marine Corps Order stating her exemption from the training, and her personal disposition towards the act of being crammed in a room and gassed has become another sensitive issue in the realm of political-correctness oft plaguing the military.
"My friend told me that Jewish Marines aren't required to enter the gas chamber," said Bettelheim in a recent interview, "on account of the Jews being forced into gas chambers by the Nazis during World War II."
"You would think my chain of command would understand that," she added, "but instead, they actually deny there is any problem at all. They are Gas Mask Deniers, plain and simple. Worse than Hitler in my opinion."
While Bettelheim stands by her convictions, her rhetoric is "completely overblown," according to Corporal Abigail Krüger, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Specialist (CBRN) running the gas chamber. Krüger insists that PFC Bettelheim is not exempted from the training simply because of her ancestry or religion.
"I don't care about your religious beliefs or the 'strife of your people' throughout history. Everybody is going to have to endure the chlorobenzalmalononitrile gas to instill confidence in their gear," retorted Cpl Krüger, a third-generation military member with service lineage dating back to WWII. "You know what? Maybe it would help if she developed a little respiratory fortitude, ya know?"
Bettelheim is currently facing non-judicial punishment for disobeying a direct order and failing to comply with Marine Corps regulations after her supervisor, Staff Sergeant Hans Wolfenstein, was notified of her refusal.
Wolfenstein, of Berlin Township, NJ, vehemently denies her claims of being treated unfairly, referencing his own family's military service. "My great-grandfather fell out of a guard tower in Poland and broke his neck while serving the fatherland in WWII, and you don't see me crying about it."
Her non-judicial punishment proceedings will be presided over by her commanding officer, Captain Werner Günther.