Army Reserve Soldier Killed, 9 Injured by Lightning Strike at Fort Gordon
One Army Reserve soldier died and nine others were injured after a lightning strike Wednesday at a training area on Fort Gordon, Georgia.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael D. Clark, 41, was an operating room specialist assigned to 933rd Forward Resuscitative Surgical Company, 3rd Medical Command, according to an Army statement released Thursday. A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Clark served more than 22 years in the active Army and reserves, deploying four times to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lightning struck Training Area 26 on July 20 around 11:10 a.m., according to Army officials. Clark and nine other injured soldiers were rushed to the base’s hospital for treatment, but Clark died from his injuries, according to the Army.
“Sgt. 1st Class Clark was a loving husband, father, and a Patriot who deeply loved our country,” Maj, Stephen W. Rhinehart, commander of the 933rd FRSC, wrote in a statement. "[Clark’s] smile and laughter were infectious and always brought joy to everyone around him. Words will never be able to describe how much he will be missed, but his influence on our unit and Soldiers will remain forever.”
The Fort Gordon area saw a storm cell Wednesday morning that delivered at least 235 lightning strikes within 15 minutes, according to local news station WJBF.
“You don’t typically see this amount of lightning with a storm,” meteorologist Ryan Gold said. “And of course the worst place to possibly be during a thunderstorm is outside, let alone an open field with you being the tallest object in that field.”
The nine other soldiers injured in the lightning strike remain in good condition, according to the Army, and one has been released from the hospital. The Army has not released the identities of any of the other soldiers. Eight are assigned to the 933rd FRSC and one is assigned to the 7458th Medical Operational Readiness Unit.
The 933rd FRSC is based out of Paducah, Kentucky, but traveled to Fort Gordon for annual training for medical units, according to the Army.