For soldiers who’ve been to Iraq, the Wisconsin heat wave is cold in comparison. But they’re still taking precautions at Fort McCoy, where the National Guard’s Patriot training exercise is wrapping up today.
Major Paul Rickert says training leaders are making sure the participants get lots of water, and longer-than-normal rest between exercises. He said the troops and other emergency personnel are in full fire-fighting gear and chemical suits, as the heat index around them hovers around 100. Rickert said a couple of soldiers have been treated at the fort for heat exhaustion. The Patriot exercise tests the soldiers’ ability to work with civilian personnel in various disaster situations. Troops who’ve been to Iraq have dealt with desert heat of up to 140-degrees. This week’s highs have been about 50-degrees cooler in the 90’s. The so-called “misery index” – the effect of the temperature and humidity – has approached 110 since Monday in Fort McCoy’s region in west central Wisconsin. Forecasters expect a cool-down tomorrow or Saturday. The workshop’s participants will have gone home by then.