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NEWS | June 21, 2016

500 Reserve Soldiers evacuated at Fort A.P. Hill

By Sgt. 1st Class Claude Dixon 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT A.P. Hill, Va. -- Almost 500 Army Reserve Soldiers evacuated their encampment and nine were injured due to severe weather on June 17 here.

The 327th Quartermaster Battalion were bivouacked at Archer Camp, as part of Quartermaster Liquid Logistics Exercise 2016 when what appeared to be a microburst struck.

“I was in the tent when it lifted straight up,” said Staff Sgt. Travis Berg of Millerton, Pennsylvania. “The (tent) pole slammed into me and threw me down and knocked me out.”

Berg and the others that were pinned under the tent were pulled out. Then they were taken to the latrine and shower facility, the only brick building in the area.

“We had the Soldiers drop what they were doing and get to the building,” said Master Sgt. Robert Correa Sr., acting sergeant major of the 327th Quartermaster Battalion from Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

At the facility personnel and weapons were accounted for. Once the weather calmed down the injured were transported to local hospitals.  

The rest of the Soldiers were transported to barracks at Camp Wilcox at Fort A.P. Hill.

After hearing about the potential severe weather the command leadership met to go over their response plan that very afternoon.

“I was in constant contact with Range Control during this period of severe weather,” said Lt. Col. Eric D. Kelley, 327th Quartermaster Battalion commander.

 “The first and priority mission consideration is the safety of our Soldiers. We were extremely blessed and fortunate that we did not sustain a greater degree of personnel injury and equipment damage.” 

“This unfortunate episode has resulted in several positives; increased the overall esprit de corps, motivation, enthusiasm, and dedication to mission of the majority of our Soldiers,” added Kelley.  

The command is cleaning up the damage and expects to return to operational missions as soon as possible. 

All nine Soldiers were treated and released.