AZ Army National Guard IDs 23 year old soldier who died during PT test

| July 31, 2020 | 36 Comments

2LT Robert Dwayne Bryant Jr.

Some sad news and another reminder that training for war can be dangerous. In this case, a 23 year old Arizona National Guard officer collapsed during his PFT. Even with a medic on scene and a quick rush to the hospital, the young man died on Wednesday July 27th. The high temperature in Tempe that day was 113°, though there’s no word about what time it was he collapsed.

Second Lieutenant Robert Dwayne Bryant Jr, a member of the 850th MP Battalion, collapsed during the run portion of the PFT. Lieutenant Bryant was a mustang officer, having been commissioned through ROTC after serving in the Arizona Guard since he was 17. His service wasn’t limited to the Guard, he’d been a Phoenix Police officer since 2017.

Rest in peace, warrior.


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Comments (36)

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  1. Roh-Dog says:

    Too dang young…
    My thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and coworkers.

  2. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Another Young Warrior taken far too soon, R.I.P.

  3. Slow Joe says:

    That sucks.
    A Phoenix police officer and an Natioanl Guard MP.
    He obviously had a calling.

    I don’t like losing people that have identified their goals in life early on, and use multiple approaches to reach those goals. That is the type of professional dedication that we need to promote and reward.

    Meanwhile, the shitbags in BLM and Antifa keep burning and looting.

  4. AW1Ed says:

    Very sad. Fair winds and following seas, Second Lieutenant Bryant.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    Durn. Much too young. Rest in peace, LT Bryant.

  6. FuzeVT says:

    RIP, LT Bryant.

    I had a similar situation at Camp Lejeune in 2002. One of my sergeants – of whom you would have said was in top physical conditioning – was running with the platoon and just stopped, had a funny look on his face (according to a corpsman who witnessed the event) and keeled over. He was even running with the run drops so it wasn’t like it was even strenuous. Left a wife and small child.

    Yes, there are some things you do in the military that are more dangerous than others, but nothing is hazard free.

    • SFC D says:

      I lost a friend in 2004, similar circumstances. Final APFT at ANCOC, felt sick after the run, collapsed and died. This man was in great shape, maxed the test, but an unknown underlying condition took him out.

    • MarineDad61 says:

      In the late 90s,
      PAARNG had 2 E-8s go to SGM school,
      and never come back.
      2 years apart.
      Ugh again.

    • Mason says:

      One of my neighbors growing up was in the ARNG. One drill weekend he had a heart attack while they were playing volleyball for PT somewheres around ’88-89. Left behind two teenage kids and a four year old.

  7. UpNorth says:

    Rest In Peace, brother. Prayers for your families, all of them.

  8. Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman says:

    I sense heat stroke/exhaustion.
    I was in PHX last week, daytime temps ABOVE 100 deg, even in the early AM.
    May the sun be always at your back.
    May a gentle breeze be always at your face.
    May the temperature always be a constant 75 deg.
    And may God’s countenance always smile upon you.

    RIP, warrior.

  9. 5th/77th FA says:

    God Speed and Fare Thee Well 2LT Robert Dwayne Bryant Jr. Dying while doing what you loved. May God’s Peace bring His Comfort to your Family and Compatriots. RIP Good Sir!

    Slow Hand Salute

  10. The Other Whitey says:

    PT shouldn’t be fatal. I’m wondering whether he had some previously-undetected underlying condition, or if those around him failed to recognize that he was in trouble. Option A sucks, but that can happen. Option B should put somebody’s ass in hot water.

    We had a firefighter fatality last year on a PT hike in heat & humidity. The guy was obviously going down from heat, but his idiot captain’s solution was to make him push harder until he collapsed and stopped breathing. The other firefighter didn’t have the balls to say something. I hope the same thing didn’t happen in this case.

    • Hondo says:

      This wasn’t routine PT, TOW – it happened during the man’s annual required Physical Fitness Test (PFT). He apparently collapsed during the 2 mile run portion, which is the last event.

      Most soldiers push pretty hard during that test. Failing a “for record” PFT is NOT a good thing for someone in the military, particularly for an NCO or officer.

      Someone from that area was presumably acclimatized, and presumably a LEO is in fair shape. But it was rather hot that day, even for Tempe (in the 90s from 5AM to somewhere around 11AM per with humidity between 20% and 40% during that time frame). Couple that with high exertion and (possibly) a previously unknown medical condition, and bad things can happen.

      RIP, 2LT Bryant. I hope you were in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knew you were gone.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        Appreciate the clarification, Hondo. Whatever the cause, it’s a damn shame. This young man was worth more to America and humanity than all the rioters in Portland.

  11. Commissar says:

    Soldiers, even junior officers, are reticent to say that something is unsafe under current conditions.

    But 113 degree weather, during days of record breaking heat, is not safe conditions for conducting a PT test.

    The leaders should have known better, and those conducting the PT test should have recognized that the any reasonable risk assessment would determine the need to postpone the test.

    You are asking soldiers to push their bodies as hard as they physically can to score as high as possible on the events, during weather conditions that regulations and common sense REQUIRE leaders reduce strenuous physical activities among soldiers.

    Whoever ordered this PT test and whoever conducted this PT test should be relieved of duty.

    I know the missions comes first, but in peacetime the mission is to train soldiers SAFELY. Some training activities by their very nature require accepting risk, however, nobody need risk their life for a PT rest.

    I have taken PT tests in 90-100 degree heat, several times, I have taken PT tests in sleet, and snow, even one in what seemed like a blizzard…

    But on a day with 113 degree highs following a previous record setting day? That is incompetent leadership.

    There is a huge difference in how you body is able to manage 100 degrees vs 110+ degrees. Which is why regulations require strenuous activists be ceased and physical activity be reduced during weather like that.

    Somebody did not do a proper risk assessment. There is no good reason to have soldiers take a PT test in conditions like that.

    • ninja says:


      What I have read is that LT
      Bryant took the PT test on Tuesday morning, 28 July 2020 and passed away the NEXT morning, Wednesday, 29 July.

      Temperature in Tempe that Tuesday morning was between 90 and 101 degrees. It did not reach 113 degrees until noon:

      IMHO, I suspect that his passing may have been caused by another factor.

      As you shared, you yourself have taken the PT Test in 90-100 degree weather (am sure others have as well to include myself.)

      Rest In Peace, LT Bryant.

      Condolences to his family and friends.

    • Hondo says:

      Not sure I agree, Commissar.

      I’d guess that the PFT was held during the early part of the day – e.g., at routine PT time, between 6AM and 8AM. That’s when most units hold both PT and PFTs.

      If so, then temperatures were nowhere near 110 F during the test in question.

      Temperatures in Tempe that day were on the high side, but were well below 100 F during normal PT hours. The temperature in Tempe that day appears to have remained below 100 F until around 11AM, and didn’t exceed 110 until somewhere around 3PM.

      (Use the “Show Weather For” feature to see hourly temp/humidity/wind data for 27 July 2020.)

      If the test was held mid-afternoon or later, then I agree that you have a point. In that case, I’d agree the unit’s chain-of-command was remiss in not rescheduling the test.

      • ninja says:


        Great minds think alike….we even used the same source…😉😎

        Additionally, as noted, LT Bryant passed away the NEXT day.

        His death is under investigation.

        IMHO, I still believe there may be other factors that contributed to his early demise at the age of 23.

        So sad this happen. Prayers for his family.

      • rgr769 says:

        The cuttlefish always reads in his own supposed facts to support whatever take he is pushing at the moment. He’d criticize the condition of the equipment even if he was hung with a new rope.

      • Commissar says:

        It looks like it was between 95 and 96 degrees at the time of the test and wet bulb conditions were black.

        The suspected cause of death by the unit is heart attack.

        Heat is a leading aggravating factor in contributing to the risk of heart attack.

        But until the autopsy we won’t know of an underlying conditions.

        I was wrong to assume the temperatures were higher.

        • Hondo says:

          It looks like it was between 95 and 96 degrees at the time of the test and wet bulb conditions were black. (emphasis added)

          Don’t think so, Commissar.

          Per the same source both I and ninja noted above, at about 8AM (95 F to 96 F temp), the relative humidity in Tempe on 27 July was less than 30%. According to the following link (advanced mode), the estimated indoor wet bulb black globe temp for 96 F and 30% humidity is 79.63. At that time of day, the sun’s still fairly low – so I doubt the outdoor wet bulb black globe temp would have been very much higher.

          Per the following USMC link, Black Flag conditions correspond to a wet bulb black globe temperature of 90 or more. (I’m reasonably sure the criteria are the same across all services; they were developed by the University of Georgia for use during athletic practices, and DoD appears to have adopted them unmodified.) FYI: A wet bulb index of 79.63 is below even green flag cutoff.

          Low relative humidity makes a helluva difference, and 30% is quite a low relative humidity.

          Try again. Might want to do some homework first, though. Doing so might keep you from looking foolish, and might also save me some time spent debunking your erroneous comments.

    • SFC D says:

      Somewhere, in whatever military training you theoretically received, you should have been taught to not second guess things you know nothing about. I’m assuming that never happened. Like so many other things you should have been taught. Your leadership failed you at every turn, apparently.

      • Commissar says:

        I received excellent training during my career.

        Yes, I was trained to second guess bad orders based on information on the ground and improvise and adjust to meet the commander’s intent even in absence of all information.

        Ultimately the leader on the ground is responsible for the outcome. This is particularly true with respect to an accidental, negligent, or avoidable death or serious injury during peacetime training.

        You failed to learn basic understanding of what being a leader is. A “leader” is not merely someone that executes the orders of those above them.

        Though I have many, far too many, “leaders” like you who think obedience trumps good decisions on the ground.

        • Mason says:

          You’re more than second guessing. You’re totally Monday morning quarterbacking here. You’re missing the most vital piece of information, the WHEN during the day of record breaking heat.

          You lived/worked in the SW. You know that the SOP is to start work well before the sun comes up. Having also experienced that environment in summer, it would be criminally incompetent to do a PT test at the height of the day’s heat. I doubt that happened here.

        • SFC D says:

          “Though I have many, far too many, “leaders” like you who think obedience trumps good decisions on the ground.”

          If you knew one single thing about me, you would know that is not true. I can provide a long list of 1SG’s and CSM’s who would attest to that. I’m not known for tolerating idiotic decisions.

  12. Top W Kone says:

    In 2007, Ryan Shay, 28, was in the 2008 Olympic trials for the marathon. (So very well trained and conditioned) at mile five he suddenly stopped running and collapsed. A doctor who saw it started cpr but Shay died.

    It was found much later that he had a weak spot in his heart they never saw in tests and check ups.

    This does happen through no fault of the Soldier.

    Here we have lost a good Soldier.

  13. RGR 4-78 says:

    Rest in Peace Second Lieutenant Robert Dwayne Bryant Jr.

  14. Fyrfighter says:

    The fact that he died the next day truly opens the field for possibilities as to the cause of death. Certainly the PFT needs to be considered as a possibility, as well as looking into what his condition was prior to the test (dehydrated, etc before even starting). Other things that pop immediately to mind would be the effects of pre-workout type supplements, commonly used by younger members, especially those trying to max this or any other physical test, and then there’s any myriad of other possibilities, including pre-existing (though unknown) conditions, like cardiac issues, aneurysm, etc. and sadly, even the possibility of a completely unrelated issue like drug or alcohol overdose. Of course we all pray it isn’t one of those, but a through investigation will have to look at all.
    Whatever the cause, gone to young, may he rest in peace, and may his family and loved ones find peace as well

  15. Darrell W. P. says:

    It does not matter that he died the next day. Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke does not go away in a few hours and it is a life-threatening condition. I was on the ER Staff at Fort Benning in the Summer we got Heat Cases constantly. One under similar circumstances, we had to monitor his core temp and he went up to ICU.Here is the thing If the Temperature exceeded the wet-bulb reading the medic on-site should have shut the test down.
    I was the medic during a PT test 74 degrees at about 7 AM in the Morning. I had a soldier collapse during the run, he was in good physical condition, but, suffered heat exhaustion that day. The kid was in the hospital at least 3 to 5 days.
    I also remember an 18 year old kid ran like the wind perfect physical shape. Collapsed and Died, He had a Cardiac Condtion that was undetectable at his age perhaps with a tread mill test it could have been detected. Bottom line when tradgedies like this happen every aspect must be looked at to form a proper decision as to what happend and why.

    *Edited to remove PII*
    Welcome aboard, Darrell.

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