Navy recruit dies one week before graduation

Seaman Recruit Kierra Evans, 20, collapsed Feb. 22 during the final run portion of her physical fitness assessment at the Navy's Recruit Training Command Great Lakes in Illinois. Evans died several hours later.


By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 5, 2019

WASHINGTON — A Navy recruit died during her final fitness test at boot camp, one week before she was to graduate, according to the Navy’s Recruit Training Command.

Seaman Recruit Kierra Evans, 20, collapsed following a physical fitness assessment on Feb. 22, Lt. Joseph Pfaff, a spokesman for Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, wrote in an email statement. Evans was immediately given first aid and transported to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, where she died several hours later.

“The Navy and Recruit Training Command take the welfare of our sailors very seriously and are investigating the cause of this tragic loss,” Pfaff wrote.

The fitness assessment was given during her sixth week of boot camp prior to graduation, following weeks of physical training, Pfaff said. The assessment has three portions: curlups, pushups and a run.

An online obituary for Evans stated she graduated in 2017 from Neville Hight School in Monroe, La., where she had been a member of the Navy Junior ROTC for four years.

Evans’ burial was March 2, one day after she was supposed to graduate boot camp, according to the obituary.

“A tragedy like this is rare,” Pfaff said. The last time a recruit died during a training incident was more than four years ago.

“The Navy and Recruit Training Command have the highest focus on recruit safety and welfare, including medical screening, monitoring of activities by medical personnel, recruit division commanders, and support staff, while executing a carefully developed curriculum,” he said.

The boot camp is located in Great Lakes, Ill., and all Navy enlistees train there for eight weeks, according to Recruit Training Command. Between 38,000 to 40,000 recruits graduate from there every year.

Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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