Military authorities told ABC11 Eyewitness News 56 soldiers suffered heat-related injuries during an extensive march around 6 a.m. The soldiers had to march 12 miles in three hours wearing a 35-pound rucksack, a helmet and weapons.
The march was part of an annual competition held on base for the Expert Field Medical Badge. The exercise was the final phase of the EFMB competition which began Sept. 18.
"The EFMB competition is a grueling series of hands-on tests on communications, common skill tasks, emergency medical treatment, evacuation of the sick and wounded, litter obstacle course, day/night land navigation courses, comprehensive written test, 12-mile foot march, CPR, Physical Fitness Test, and Weapons qualification," Fort Bragg explained in a press release Friday.
Fifty-six soldiers suffered heat-related injuries, 25 were treated in the field and the rest were transported to Womack.
"The event that happened this morning was a culmination of two weeks of intensive training, combined with stress," Colonel Scott Putzier said. "This morning's temperature was 70 degrees at five in the morning. We started at 5:30. We ended at 8:30, and the temperature then was 76 degrees. We had unusual high humidity. It was 95 degrees [heat index]when we started the road march, and we had light drizzle throughout."