Unit copes with second loss of a Soldier
Pfc. Jamal Britt, who died Oct. 7, was scheduled to graduate today.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Pfc. Jamal Britt's unit misses him.

"The unit, Charlie Company, definitely has felt the impact of the loss. He was well-liked.

He was a leader in the unit," said Chaplain (Capt.) Todd Morrison of the 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment.

Britt collapsed during the running portion of his Army Physical Fitness Test. The 19-year-old later died at a local hospital Oct. 7. Britt, a Maryland native, was in his eighth week of Basic Combat Training.

Britt was well-known in his unit for leading prayer and Bible studies, Morrison said.

On Friday, Morrison told reporters that immediately following the news of Britt's death, counseling began for his unit.

"We do traumatic event management. It's an opportunity to get those closest to him to start talking ... then we fan out to others in the unit," Morrison said.

For Britt's family in Edgewood, Md., the Army -- as it usually does in these cases - also provided chaplains to assist the family there.

Britt's death is the second for the 3-13th recently . The unit also lost 23-year-old Spc. Christopher Hogg to pneumonia complicated by the H1N1 virus on Sept. 10.

Fort Jackson -- one of the Army's largest training installations - has had three Soldier deaths this summer. The other, Pvt. Jonathan Morales, 18, died in August of apparent heatstroke during basic training.

"Deaths are not common (during basic training)," said Morrison. "We do everything we can to mitigate any risk that we can identify."

The installation's drill sergeants and Soldiers are trained to watch for and be proactive about preventing dehydration, heatstroke and the spread of communicable diseases.

"Each of the deaths is a unique loss to the unit, to the Army and to the country," Morrison said. "Each one matters."

Following Britt's collapse on Oct. 7, he was transported to Moncrief Army Community Hospital and then to Providence Northeast Hospital in Columbia. An investion into Britt's death continues.

Page last updated Thu October 15th, 2009 at 09:17