COLUMBIA, SC – Authorities are investigating the death of a 19-year-old Marine Corps recruit during an intense exercise that wraps up a 13-week training course in Parris Island, South Carolina.
According to a Facebook post from officials of the facility – one of the country’s two maritime training depots – Pfc. Dalton Beals died on Friday during an exercise known as “The Crucible”, the final test of recruit training.
Further details of Beals’ death, which is still under investigation, were not disclosed.
Beals graduated in 2020 from Pennsville Memorial High School in Pennsville, New Jersey, the school noted in a Facebook post.
Several days before Beals started The Crucible, his mother posted on Facebook the details of the grueling exercise, which she called “my baby’s last step in becoming a Marine!” The 54-hour effort, during which recruits are allowed limited food and sleep, includes 48 miles of hiking, loaded with heavy equipment.
A GoFundMe set up to help Beals’ family with funeral costs noted he was due to complete his training on June 18.
There have been a number of recruit deaths over the years at Parris Island, which has been training Marines since 1915 on the island off the coast of South Carolina.
In 2018, a judge dismissed a lawsuit by the family of Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old Michigan recruit who committed suicide in 2016 after a confrontation with a Parris Island drill instructor.
Siddiqui’s family challenged his suicide, claiming he was targeted because of his Islamic faith. Several Marines were ultimately convicted of abuse, following evidence that drill instructors beat, suffocated and kicked recruits.