A Fort Jackson soldier who collapsed while taking a physical fitness test died of heatstroke, the Richland County Coroner ruled Friday.
The victim, Pvt. Jamal Britt, 19, of Edgewood, Md., was just a week away from graduating when he collapsed Wednesday afternoon, the Army said.
He is the third soldier to die in basic training at Fort Jackson since Aug. 20, and the sixth in the past year. About half the soldiers entering the Army take basic training at Fort Jackson. More than 40,000 soldiers train in Columbia each year.
After collapsing, Britt was transported to Moncrief Army Community Hospital at Fort Jackson. He then was moved to Providence Northeast Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:04 p.m. Wednesday.
Following an autopsy and tests, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Friday that Britt died of "heatstroke due to physical exertion."
Britt, who was assigned to C Company, 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, collapsed while participating in the two-mile run, the last of three events that make up the Army Physical Fitness Test.
Wednesday was unseasonably warm with a high temperature reading of 90 degrees, compared with an average high of 78. The humidity reading was around 50 percent midafternoon Wednesday, according to weather reports.
Troops usually take the fitness test wearing running shoes, and Army-issued T-shirt and shorts. In cold weather, they may wear jogging togs.
All soldiers regardless of rank, age, job or gender are required to take the timed test. Troops need to complete a minimum number of push-ups and sit-ups, and complete a two-mile run.
The standard number of sit-ups, push-ups, as well as timing of the run are based on the soldier's age.
The test "is a simple way to measure a soldier's ability to move his body by using a few major muscle groups and cardiorespiratory system," according to the Army's Web site, Army.com.
Soldiers are allowed no less than 10 minutes, but "ideally no more than 20 minutes" to rest between each event, the Web site added. The run is the last event of the test.
To pass, Britt needed to complete 47 sit-ups and 35 push-ups, and complete the run in no more than 16 minutes, 36 seconds, according to the Army fitness chart.
Two other deaths at Fort Jackson this year came less than a month apart - one from H1N1 virus, the other from apparent heatstroke.
Spc. Christopher Hogg, 23, of Deltona, Fla., became the U.S. military's first swine flu fatality when he died Sept. 10 at a Columbia hospital. A member of D Company, 3rd Battalion 13th Infantry Regiment, he was set to graduate Oct. 15.
On Aug. 20, Pvt. Jonathan Morales, 18, of Milwaukee, died from apparent heatstroke while participating in a foot march just days before he was to graduate from basic training. He was a member of Company F, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment.
Morales' death was the first in basic training at Fort Jackson since two women and a man died during a four-week period between September and October in 2008.
An Army investigation determined the deaths were unrelated. All three soldiers died of natural causes, authorities said.