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Trainee dies after taking PT exam

Oct. 20, 2011 - 08:05PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 20, 2011 - 08:05PM  |  
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A standout Air Force basic trainee died after completing a fitness exam Wednesday, according to a release from Joint Base San Antonio.

Steven D. Williams, 26, of Detroit collapsed about 6 a.m. after the physical training test, which included sit-ups, push-ups and 1-mile run. The fitness test was part of Williams' pregraduation fitness evaluation to meet Air Force-wide standards.

Gerry Proctor, a spokesman for the 37th Training Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, said Williams was going through the cool-down phase after the exam when he collapsed. An on-site medical technician was able to revive him, and he seemed to be recovered enough to drink some water, Proctor said.

An ambulance was called, and Williams was being helped back to his squadron for further observation when he collapsed again, Proctor said. Emergency medical personnel were able to resuscitate Williams again, but he died at Southwest General Hospital in San Antonio. The official cause of his death is pending autopsy results.

Williams served as the dorm chief for his flight the highest leadership position among trainees. As dorm chief, he was responsible for all the trainees in his flight, building esprit de corps and motivating them to succeed.

Col. Eric Axelbank, 37th Training Wing commander, said the training flight was in mourning.

"I find no words to adequately express our grief and sympathy for his family, friends and members of his training flight," Axelbank said in the release. "We hope the family finds comfort in knowing that his performance in Basic Military Training was commendable and that he earned the respect of his instructors and his fellow trainees."

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