Jul 23, 2019

U.S. Soldiers Falling Ill, Dying in the Heat as Climate Warms

InsideClimate News

Cline was one of at least 17 service members to die of heat exposure during training exercises at U.S. military bases since 2008. They included an 18-year-old cadet in his first week at West Point, a 21-year-old on his first day of training as an Army Ranger, and a fit 22-year-old Marine who died after a 6-mile hike.

Over the same period, amid scorching conditions, a rising number of military members have fallen ill because of the heat.

In 2008, 1,766 cases of heat stroke or heat exhaustion were diagnosed among active-duty service members, according to military data. By 2018, that figure had climbed to 2,792, an increase of almost 60 percent over the decade. All branches of the military saw a rise in heat-related illnesses, but the problem was most pronounced in the Marine Corps, which saw the rate of heat strokes more than double from 2008 to 2018, according to military data.

The troops who died of heat exposure are among the most extreme examples of how a warming world poses a threat to military personnel, both at home and abroad.