Lightning injures Army Ranger instructors, students

The Army Ranger students were learning lightning protection protocols at the time of the incident.

Dozens of Army Ranger students and instructors were injured after they were hit by lightning during training. The students were learning lightning protection protocols at the time of the incident.

All 40 of the Ranger students and four instructors had returned to duty by Thursday evening, officials said.

The Army initially reported nine students and two instructors remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon for observation. Their injuries were not life-threatening.

The lightning hit at 4:55 p.M. CT Wednesday at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The students were two-thirds of the way through Ranger School’s Swamp Phase.

The course’s two female students, who are part of the Army’s gender-integrated assessment of the grueling two-month school, were not involved, officials said.

Of the 44 soldiers, 17 students and three instructors remained overnight in the hospital.

The remaining soldiers were treated and released.

“The Ranger students and instructors reacted and got everyone proper medical care quickly,” said Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, in a statement.

Ranger School’s Swamp Phase is conducted at Camp Rudder at Eglin . It is the third and final phase of the school, and it focuses on the development of the students’ leadership and small-unit tactics.

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During the 17-day Swamp Phase, students learn waterborne operations, small boat movements and stream crossings.

Students who successfully complete this phase will graduate from Ranger School and earn the coveted Ranger tab.

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