Burlington, North Carolina Daily Times
June 20, 1957
No Victims Listed From This Area
Fort Bragg Bolts Injure Many Bivouac Troops
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 Army identified the victims as Sgt. 1.C. Walter Lee Milam, 26, son of Martin Lee Milam and
the late Mrs. Milam of 235 Front St., Kannapolis, and Pfc. Arthur Helton Norris Jr., 19, son of Mr.
and Mrs. A. B. Norris of 818 S. Juniper St., Kannapolis.
The base hospital called in offduty personnel to handle the 41 patients who poured in for treatment
for five or six hours after the fierce electrical storm struck.
Field stations gave first aid treatment on the spot.
Units of the 10th (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 solders stood
in chow line, mess kits in hand. "The men in front of me were knocked down like bowling pins,"
said Pfc. Gary D. Truesdale, 18, ot Hickory. "My metal mess gear was wrenched from my hand and
bent all out of shape. I heard people calling for the medic, who had been knocked out, and went
with some buddies to try to help them when the other bolt struck."
The second bolt knocked Truesdale unconscious.
Capt. Joseph E. Orland of Kannapolis recalled:
"The ground shook something terrible and my feet felt like the ground was sizzling — just burning
The bolt knocked out one of the cooks. Capt. Orland and other cooks gave him artificial respiration
and revived him. Then Capt. Orland took off his shoes to see if the lightning damaged his feet.
"I just put my bare foot on the wet ground when another bolt struck like the first one. That bolt
stunned both my legs and hip, and I was knocked to the ground along with other people in the
tent," the captain said.
"I don't remember much of what happened after that. I was brought to the hospital here and
with the exception of a funny feeling in my leg I am fine again. "
An Army spokesman said four of the injured men were admitted to the hospital as patients, none seriously
hurt. Those admitted and their injuries:
Pfc. William D. Deal, 17, of Newton, upset stomach; Lt. Col. Alvin R. Hillebrand, 47, of Durham, injured
eye; Sp. 2.C. Wade H. Wyatt Jr., 29, of Mocksville, moderately sprained back; and Sp. 3.C. Webster J. Linker,
42, of Concord, admitted for observation and rest.
The other injured remained at the hospital overnight for rest before returning to their units.
More than three miles from the center of the storm damage area, Capt. David L. Britt of Raleigh was taling
on a field telephone. A jolt of electricity threw him completely acrss a large tent.
Pvt. Harry K. Conway, 17, of Morehead City, a switchboard operator in a communications center, sitting with
a headset on his lap, said it felt like "a horse kicked me in the stomach."
Lt. col. Hillebrand, miles away from the other indicents, injured his right eye when shocked through a
Maj. David Wilkinson, unit chaplain from Charlotte, credited action of the men in the field with keeping
any of the injured from being seriously hurt.
He said, "within seconds after the first shock men who themselves had been knocked down, and those who felt
no effects from the jolts, were on their feet helping their buddies.
"The way those guardsmen kept their heads is a real credit to them and their unit."
The storm moved across the vast military reservation between 5 and 6 p.m. Jack Younts, a radio station
executive at Southern Pines, 10 miles from the scene of the storm damage, said he could clearly see the
electrical activity light up the sky.
The accident caught the hospital staff in the middle of changing shift. The hospital sent out calls to
wards and dining halls.
Nurses, going off duty for the night, slipped white robes over their dresses and went back to work.
Corpsmen and other hospital workers quickly rallied for all night duty.
The damage apparently centered in the bivouac area of units from Kannapolis. Twenty of the injured are
residents of Kannapolis.
But, riding telephone and power lines, the lightning bolts traveled far. Lt. Col. Alvin R. Hillebrand of
Durham, sitting miles from the damage scene, suffered an eye injury from a shock while using a telephone.
Lightning Kills Two Tar Heel Guardsmen
FT. BRAGG - AP - List of casualties in yesterday's electrical storm at the 30th Infantry Division encampment.
Sgt. 1.C. Walter Lee Milam, 26, son of Martin Lee Milam and the late Mrs. Milam of 235 Front St., Kannapolis, N.C.
Pfc. Arthur Belton Norris Jr., 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Norris of 818 S. Juniper St., Kannapolis.
M. Sgt. Ardell W. Goulding Jr. of New Bern.
Pfc. William A. Aldrich of Snow Hill.
Pfc. Larry House Jr. of Snow Hill.
Cpl. Johnnie R. Taylor of Snow Hill.
Pfc. Mark Cotter Jr. of New Bern.
Pvt. Sebert E. Jones of New Bern.
Pvt. Harry K. Conway of Morehead City.
Capt. David L. Britt of Raleigh.
Sp. 2.C. Wade H. Wyatt of Mocksville.
Sp. 2.C. Harold L. Rollings of Mocksville.
Sgt. 1.C. Joe N. Tutterow of Mocksville.
Sp. 3.C. Webster J. Linker of Kannapolis.
Pfc. Eddie C. Gurley of Kannapolis.
Pfc. William R. Long of Kannapolis.
Sp. 2.C. Kenneth E. Teeter of Kannapolis.
Sp. 3.C. Clarnce Payne of Kannapolis.
Sp. 3.C. Carl J. Mann of Kannapolis.
Pfc. William B. Moon of Kannapolis.
Pfc. John L. Johnson of Kannapolis.
Pfc. Wheeler James of Kannapolis.
Sgt. Thomas C. Dorlon of Kannapolis.
Sgt. Leonard R. Troutman of Kannapolis.
Sp. 3.C. Jerry E. Tutterow of Kannapolis.
Sgt. Colan W. Billings of Kannapolis.
Pfc. Bill A. Williams of Kannapolis.
Sp. 2.C. Travis N. Hamrick of Kannapolis.
Capt. Joseph E. Orland of Kannapolis.
1st. Lt. Robert O. Williams of Kannapolis.
Sgt. 1.C. Ernest F. Wishon of Kannapolis.
M. Sgt. Carl Hendren of Kannapolis.
Pfc. Raymond L. Schenck of Kannapolis.
1st. Lt. William H. Lutz of Newton.
Pfc. William D. Deal of Newton.
Sgt. 1.C. Robert E. Wright of Newton.
Cpal. Karl L. Deal of Newton.
Sp. 3.C. George M. Herman of Newton.
Sp. 3.C. Ray T. Sigmon of Newton.
Pvt. Robert D. Shook of Newton.
Sp. 3.C. Herbert D. Propst of Newton.
Sgt. 1.C. Cyril L. Setzer of Newton.
Cpl. Floyd C. Miller of Newton.
M. Sgt. Joe D. Lail of Newton.
Pfc. Harvey D. Travis of Newton.
Pfc. James L. Hollar of Hickory.
Cpl. Conrad W. Bolch of Hickory.
Pfc. Gary L. Carpenter of Hickory.
Pfc. Gary D. Truesdale of Hickory.
Lt. Col. Alvin E. Hillebrand of Durham.
1st. Lt. Albert L. Lofland Jr. of Newton.