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Basic trainee succumbs during training

10/20/2011 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force officials here announced the death of a basic trainee who died Oct. 19 at Southwest General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

Twenty-six-year-old Steven D. Williams of Detroit, Mich., had just completed his physical training assessment when he collapsed around 6 a.m.

The assessment includes sit-ups, push-ups and a 1.5 mile run and is a pre-graduation evaluation of a trainee's physical fitness to meet Air Force-wide standards, officials said. The physical events are not unique to the basic training environment and are common standards to be met by all Air Force personnel. An official cause of death is pending autopsy results.

"This is a tragic event, and the men and women of the 37th Training Wing are grieving this loss. The entire Air Force family sends its condolences to the family and friends of the Airman," said Colonel Eric Axelbank, the 37th Training Wing commander.

"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," said Colonel Axelbank. "We mourn the loss of a member of the Air Force family, and I find no words to adequately express our grief and sympathy for his family, friends and the members of his training flight."

The trainee held the position of dorm chief -- the highest leadership position among trainees, officials said. He was responsible for all trainees in his flight, building esprit de corps, propelling other trainees to believe in their ability to succeed and motivating them to work as a team and reach their goal of becoming Airmen.

(Courtesy of the 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs)

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