The death of a Coast Guard recruit during initial training last July in Cape May is traced to a health issue, but authorities at the base have enhanced safety procedures.

Coast Guard 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (US Coast Guard)
Coast Guard 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (US Coast Guard)

Aaron Redd, 21, of Stafford, Virginia, lingered for six days after collapsing during a July 1 fitness-assessment run with Recruit Company Delta-193 at the Coast Guard Recruiting Center (TRACEN) Cape May.

The Major Incident Investigation board determined that his death stemmed from a "heat-related illness exacerbated by an underlying medical condition." The panel added that Redd's pre-existing condition did not disqualify him from serving.

Redd had enlisted just three days prior to the one-and-a-half-mile run. First aid was administered before he was taken to Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House, where he died July 7.

The board ruled that USCG followed established policy, and said that TRACEN Cape May reinforced safety practices and procedures for incoming recruits.

In prepared remarks, Rear Admiral David G. Throop, Commander, Force Readiness Command, said, "Any loss of life is a cause for reflection, so we want to do whatever we can to increase the level of safety at our training facilities."

"This tragic and sudden event was the impetus for a thorough review of our safety policies," said Capt. Owen Gibbons, commanding officer, TRACEN Cape May. "Families trust us with the care of their loved ones while they are here and we owe it to them to ensure we are providing the safest training environment possible."

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