Dozens of soldiers in Fort Bragg survival class test positive for coronavirus, Army says

Mitchell Willetts

Almost every member of a survival training class at Fort Bragg is in quarantine following the discovery of a large coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Army officials announced Tuesday.

Out of 110 soldiers taking part in the 19-day survival, evasion, resistance and escape training at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, 82 students and eight instructors have tested positive for coronavirus, Task and Purpose reported.

SERE training is designed to teach soldiers how to evade capture, and to resist interrogation if they are, according to the outlet. Students were in the final stretch of the intensive training when soldiers began feeling sick.

“They had about six hours left to go, and so we pulled them out because the guys reported feeling sick,” Janice Burton, a spokeswoman for the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, told Task and Purpose. “So they missed six hours but they finished the course.”

Everyone has been tested, Burton told the Army Times. Most of the 90 who were infected aren’t showing any symptoms, and none have required hospitalization, she said.

There are around 2,400 students at Fort Bragg’s SWCS at any time, according to the outlet, and they are regularly screened throughout the program.

“The health and wellness of our students and staff is our top priority,” Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, SWCS commanding general, said in a statement. “We will do everything we can to protect our students and their families.”

The outbreak occurred despite strict Army guidelines put in place to prevent the spread, officials said, adding that out of 2,400 students, 90 is a small portion, according to Military.com

Students are isolated for 14 days prior to the start of any SWCS training courses, Burton told the outlet.