9 of 11 poisoned Fort Bliss soldiers released from hospital

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Nine of the 11 Fort Bliss soldiers sickened last week after drinking a component commonly found in antifreeze have been released from a Texas hospital, Army officials said Monday.

Two soldiers remained hospitalized at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, including one who is in intensive care, Fort Bliss officials said in a statement.

All 11 soldiers fell ill Thursday following a 10-day field training exercise at Fort Bliss’s McGregor Range Complex, the base said. Initially, base leadership said the soldiers had ingested an unauthorized substance.

Laboratory test results revealed it was ethylene glycol poisoning that made them ill. Base officials said the soldiers thought they were drinking alcohol.

It’s unclear why the soldiers, who are assigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, believed what they were drinking was alcohol.

Army personnel are prohibited from drinking alcohol while on duty, including while in a training environment, Lt. Col. Allie Payne, public affairs officer for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss said previously.

What type of disciplinary action the soldiers might face if they did consume alcohol while on duty was unclear.

The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. An administrative investigation ordered by the Fort Bliss senior mission commander is also underway.

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