The soldier killed by a bolt of lightning at a Georgia Army base Wednesday has been identified as a 22-year veteran of the Army and reserves who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan four times.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Clark, 41, was struck by lightning around 11:10 a.m. during a training exercise at Fort Gordon, the US Army Reserve announced Thursday. Clark, a reservist assigned to a medical team that performs emergency surgery in combat zones, was rushed to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, but couldn’t be saved.
The Army Reserve said nine other soldiers were hospitalized for injuries sustained from the lightning strike.
Clark, of Springfield, Mass., was assigned to the 933rd Forward Resuscitative Surgical Company, 3rd Medical Command.
“The 933rd FRSD family is devastated by the loss of our brother, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Clark,” said Maj. Stephen W. Rhinehart, commander of the company. “Sgt. 1st Class 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.”
Rhinehart called Clark a “friend and brother,” which made his death especially hard to bear.
“Sgt. 1st Class Clark’s smile and laughter were infectious and always brought joy to everyone around him,” he said. “Words will never be able to describe how much he will be missed, but his influence on our unit and Soldiers will remain forever.”
One of the nine others — eight reservists and one soldier — has been treated and released from the hospital, while the eight remaining are still receiving treatment and are in “good condition,” according to the Army Reserve.
The reserves and soldiers were participating in an annual training for medical units to refine their medical skills in the field and in stressful environments.
“We extend our sincere sympathies to Sgt. 1st Class Clark’s unit and his family during this difficult time,” said Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General of U.S. Army Reserve Command. “People are our most important asset. Sgt. 1st Class Clark was a valuable member of our Army Reserve team and we are all deeply saddened by his loss.”