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A Seabee from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 died Friday morning during a physical training exercise at Camp Shields.

Petty Officer 1st Class Merrill Guest, 41, the leading petty officer of the unit’s Personnel Department, was pronounced dead at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa just after 8 a.m.

Members of the unit were conducting a mock physical readiness test when Guest dropped out of the 1½-mile run before collapsing, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Landon Mason, from NMCB 133’s public affairs office. Mason said Guest had completed about one-third of the run when he began to walk. Guest then sat down, and about 10 minutes later he lost consciousness.

Unit medical personnel tended to Guest when he stopped running and were with him when he collapsed just after 7 a.m. The medical staff called for an ambulance and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until the unit arrived about five to eight minutes later, Mason said. Guest was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:01 a.m.

Prior to running, Mason said, Guest had stretched and also completed two minutes each of push-ups and sit-ups. The unit holds physical training every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with running distances ranging up to three miles, Mason said.

The unit held a private memorial service in honor of Guest on Saturday afternoon.

“Merrill was a great friend to many of us and his death has hit us all pretty hard,” Mason said.

NMCB 133 is deployed to Okinawa from its home base in Gulfport, Miss. The unit arrived on Okinawa June 9 and is to head home in early December.

The cause of Guest’s death is under investigation.

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