40 Ranger School students and four instructors had to be hospitalized after a lightning strike during training at Eglin Air Force Base on Wednesday. All 44 were immediately taken to an area hospital, where 20 had to remain overnight. 11 soldiers remained hospitalized as of Thursday night, but all have since returned to duty. The two women still remaining at Ranger School were not affected.
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The lightning strike occurred during the Ranger School’s swamp phase, while the students were learning lightning protection procedures. The soldiers injured were given immediate medical attention and Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, lauded the soldiers for their toughness. “The Ranger students and instructors reacted and got everyone proper medical care quickly,” he said in a statement. “Ranger students and instructors are tough. [The] students will return to training tonight and continue with increased medical monitoring as they try to earn their Ranger tab.”
The swamp phase involves waterborne operations, including small boat movements, and continues developing the students’ combat arms training. Students will also be expected to plan and lead platoon operations in a swamp environment. Students who successfully compete the swamp phase will graduate Ranger School and earn the coveted Ranger Tab.