Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina resumed physical fitness testing Monday, two weeks after halting them due to the running-related deaths of two airmen.
But the investigation into the deaths of Senior Airman Amalia Joseph, 32, and Senior Airman Aaron Hall, 30, is still ongoing. Joseph, who died May 26, and Hall, who died June 1, both experienced medical emergencies during their official physical fitness assessments on Shaw’s running tracks, and died a few days later.
Two days after Hall’s death, Col. Derek O’Malley, commander of Shaw’s 20th Fighter Wing, suspended all PT testing at the base until further notice, and launched an investigation into what caused their deaths.
Capt. Alannah Staver, chief of public affairs for the 20th, said June 3 that the base wanted to find out if anything related to PT processes, or environmental factors related to the quarter-mile track or the 0.75-mile out-and-back track, caused the medical complications that killed Joseph and Hall. This included testing the temperatures at the tracks.
Staver said in an email Wednesday that during the two-week pause, physical training leaders reviewed their processes for PT testing to make sure they were following the appropriate procedures.
An additional PT test preparation training program was developed, and included in the scheduling process, to make sure test takers are adequately prepared, Staver said.
Both Joseph and Hall were electronic warfare systems journeymen from the 20th Component Maintenance Squadron at Shaw, so the base also planned to examine their work environment.
Shaw has grieved both airmen’s losses in recent weeks. A memorial service was held for Joseph at the base June 7, in which she was described as a “selfless mentor, caring, patient and loving to those around her.”
“Joseph was always smiling,” Staff Sgt. Brandon Hayes said in a June 13 release about her memorial service. “Every single time I would walk past her, she would stop what she was doing to strike up a conversation. She brightened up the room with her presence.”
Joseph was posthumously awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for her achievements. She is survived by her husband, Brenthum, and two sons Deneilson and Renaldo.
Hall’s life was remembered in a June 5 memorial service. He was posthumously awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, and was also remembered for his positive attitude and supportive guidance shown to his fellow airmen.
Hall is survived by his father, Peter Hall Sr., mother, Jennifer Hall, and brother, Peter Hall Jr.
“Since our beloved Aaron has passed, the outpouring of love and support we have received from his friends and colleagues in the form of prayers, kind words and short stories revealed to us more than anything, that Aaron was a person who developed meaningful relationships,” his brother, Peter, said. “As a result, he was valued not only as a senior airman, but as a confidant. For my family and I, today is not a day for damp sadness or deep sorrow, but of tender joy.”
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.