John Wesley Britt is grieving the loss of his son, who died Wednesday after collapsing during a physical fitness test at Fort Jackson.
He also is questioning why 20-year-old Pvt. Jamal Britt was taking the test, which includes sit-ups, push-ups and a two-mile run, at noon.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts ruled Friday that Britt died of heatstroke. Watts said Saturday the soldier had no underlying health conditions.
"There's no reason to give a (physical fitness) test in midday," John Wesley Britt said Saturday from his home in Maryland. "That's why he got heatstroke. Why would you be doing a PT test at 12 noon? Why would you bring a guy in from out in the field, make him walk two miles (back) and then give him a PT test? That's not right."
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Patrick Jones, deputy public affairs officer at Fort Jackson, said the Army uses a measurement called a wet bulb reading to determine the day's humidity. The measurement dictates the type of training that can be done on certain days.
He did not know Saturday what the wet bulb reading was on the day Britt died. The high temperature that day was 90 degrees.
Britt was the second Fort Jackson soldier to die of heatstroke at the Army training base this year. On Aug. 20, Pvt. Jonathan Morales, 18, of Milwaukee, died from apparent heatstroke while participating in a foot march just days before graduation from basic training.
More than 40,000 soldiers train at Fort Jackson each year, about half of those entering the Army.
Britt, a 2008 high school graduate from Edgewood, Md., entered the Army Reserves to earn money for college, his father said. He turned 20 on Sept. 17.
John Wesley Britt had talked to Jamal Oct. 3, and his son told him about the upcoming physical fitness test. He had twisted his ankle during an earlier physical fitness test, so this was a retake, his father said. All soldiers are required to take the timed test.
"He was ecstatic. He said the (physical fitness) test was not a problem. He said, 'Dad, I had it beat (the first time, before injuring his ankle). No problem. And this one, I'll have it beat, too.' "
His father said Jamal collapsed near the end of his two-mile run. Jamal Britt had been a high school wrestler and ran the mile on the school's track team.
"It's not that he wasn't in good physical shape," his father said.
John Wesley Britt had already bought the plane tickets to visit Columbia for his son's graduation from basic training at Fort Jackson next week.
His son was scheduled to fly back to Baltimore with him after graduation. Jamal Britt was planning to attend advanced individual training at a base in Virginia.