By David Hasemyer, 23JUL19
This story was published as part of a joint investigation with NBC News.
“The medics loaded Sgt. Sylvester Cline into an ambulance with the air conditioning running at full blast. It was 4:20 p.m., 20 minutes after he’d been helped off a live-fire training range at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, where the heat index had reached 103.
“Cline, an Iraq combat veteran, and two other soldiers were being evacuated to a nearby barracks to rehydrate and cool off after nine hours of drills on parched training grounds on that sweltering day in June 2016.
“Despite a forecast for extreme heat, base safety officers who prepared the daily risk assessment had decided soldiers faced only moderate danger. Later that morning, the temperature had reached 90 degrees, triggering “black flag” conditions, the military’s signal for a high risk of heat casualties. Commanders were supposed to allow at least 40 minutes rest for each hour of training, but they did not heed the requirement, an Army investigation found…”