NJ Marine recruit dies in final test of Parris Island training
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Authorities are investigating the death of a 19-year-old Marine Corps recruit from New Jersey during a strenuous exercise that caps a 13-week training course at South Carolina's Parris Island.
According to a Facebook post from officials with the installation — one of two Marine training depots in the country — Pfc. Dalton Beals died Friday during an exercise known as “The Crucible," the final test of recruit training.
Further details about Beals’ death, which remains under investigation, have not been released.
Beals graduated in 2020 from Pennsville Memorial High School in Pennsville, New Jersey, the school noted in a Facebook post. He is the third member of the military from the school to die in the line of duty, according to the school.
Students on Wednesday were urged to wear red, white and blue to honor Beals' service.
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered flags to fly at half staff on Wednesday in Beals' honor
"Private First Class Beals’ loss is a loss for our entire state and our nation. May he rest in peace and honor," Murphy said on his Twitter account.
Several days before Beals began The Crucible, his mother posted on Facebook about the details of the grueling exercise, which she called “the final leg of my baby’s journey to becoming a Marine!" The 54-hour effort, during which recruits are allowed limited food and sleep, includes 48 miles of hiking, loaded with heavy gear.
A GoFundMe set up to help Beals' family with funeral expenses noted that he had been set to graduate from training on June 18.
"His amazing mother described him as “the most sincere, kindhearted, sweet and amazing young man," Haley McMenamin wrote on the page.
There have been a number of recruit deaths through the years at Parris Island, which has been training Marines since 1915 on the island off South Carolina’s coast.
In 2018, a judge dismissed a lawsuit from the family of Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old recruit from Michigan who killed himself in 2016 after a confrontation with a Parris Island drill instructor.
Siddiqui's family disputed his suicide, saying he was targeted because of his Islamic faith. Several Marines were ultimately convicted for abuse, following evidence that drill instructors beat, choked and kicked recruits.
(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)