Ft. Bragg, NC Lightning Strike, June 1957


Ft. Bragg, N.C. (AP) -- Lightning struck twice within 10 minutes, killed two National Guardsmen and knocked over soldiers "like bowling pins" on this Army paratrooper base last night.
The base hospital called in off-duty personnel to handle the 48 patients who poured in for treatment for five or six hours after the fierce electrical storm swept across Ft. Bragg. Field aid stations gave first aid treatment on the spot.
Units of the 30th (Old Hickory) Division of the North Carolina National Guard bore the brunt of the storm's attack. The 8,000 Tar Heel guardsmen were encamped for summer training in a wooded area 10 miles west of the main portion of the base.
Striking at suppertime, the lightning skipped around the bivouac area as many of the soldiers stood in chow line, mess kits in hand.
"The men in front of me were knocked down like bowling pins," one soldier said. "My metal mess gear was wrenched from my hand and bent all out of shape."
Another recalled, "The ground shook something terrible and my feet felt like the ground was sizzling -- just burning up."
After the first flash, one guardsman removed his boots to see if his feet were injured.
"I just put my bare foot on the wet ground when another bolt struck like the first one," he said. "I was knocked to the ground along with other people in the tent."
An Army spokesman said four of the injured were admitted to the hospital as patients, none seriously hurt. The other injured remained in the hospital overnight to catch up on their sleep before returning to their units.

San Mateo Times California 1957-06-20