AUGUSTA, Ga. – One soldier was killed, and nine others were injured at Fort Gordon during an apparent lightning strike Wednesday to a training range at the U.S. Army installation in eastern Georgia, authorities said.
An Army spokesperson said medical detachments were performing training at the facility when lightning struck around 11 a.m.
All of the soldiers were transported to a medical facility, but the Army reported Sgt. 1st Class Michael D. Clark, an operating room specialist assigned to 933rd Forward Resuscitative Surgical Company, succumbed to his injuries.
"The 933rd FRSD family is devastated by the loss of our brother, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Clark. Sgt. 1st Clark was a loving husband, father, and a Patriot who deeply loved our country. His leadership, knowledge, experience, and love for his fellow Soldiers was immeasurable. Sgt. 1st 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. This especially hurts because not only was Sgt. 1st Clark one of my Soldiers, but he was my friend and brother. Our prayers are with his family, " Maj. Stephen W. Rhinehart, commander, 933rd Forward Resuscitative Surgical Company said in a statement.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Clark served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and earned multiple awards and service members.
Doppler radar showed several storms in the vicinity of Fort Gordon around the time of the incident.
The installation does have a lightning protection system and there are typically protocols in place that warn of dangerous storms, according to Army documents.
A spokesperson said details on any warnings and whether protocols were followed will be part of the serious incident investigation.
Around 16,000 service members are based at the facility, which is near Augusta, Georgia.
The installation is home to the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and hosts joint training operations among several military branches.
The death marks the seventh of year in the U.S., according to data from the National Lightning Safety Council, and the second in Georgia this year.
On average, more than 20 people are killed each year by lightning strikes.
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