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Marine recruit dies during ‘Crucible’ training at Parris Island boot camp

U.S. Marine Corps recruits march to an obstacle during The Crucible at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., Dec. 3, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Norman)
June 08, 2021

A U.S. Marine recruit died on Friday during the “Crucible” event of the service’s boot camp training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island.

The service identified the deceased 19-year-old recruit as Pfc. Dalton Beals.

“On Friday, June 4th, Private First Class Dalton Beals passed away during the conduct of The Crucible with the new Marines of Echo Company,” MCRD Parris Island said in a Facebook post. “Our deepest condolences go out to Dalton’s family and to the Marines and staff of Echo Company. The cause of death is currently under investigation.”

The Crucible is a 54-hour training event that takes place in the 10th week of the 12-week Marine Corps boot camp and is the “final challenge of recruit training” before Marine recruits graduate from boot camp.

The training event sees recruits take on physical, mental and moral challenges. Recruits are broken into squads and take on those challenges while being allowed only limited food and sleep. The last major part of the training event also features a nine-mile march from the training grounds to the Iwo Jima flag-raising statue on the base. Upon completion of the Crucible, recruits are presented their Eagle, Globe and Anchors, which are symbolic of the Marine Corps and recruits journey to become Marines.

Chief Warrant Officer-3 Bobby Yarbrough, a spokesman for MCRD Parris Island told Task & Purpose that even though Beals died before the completion of his crucible training, “The Drill instructors and Company staff made the determination that based on his resolve and dedication throughout recruit training and the Crucible, Pfc. Beals earned the title Marine.”

NJ.com reported Beals, a Pennsville, New Jersey native, was a member of his high school football, wrestling and track teams.

Beals’ mother Stacie Beals said her son was “the most sincere, kindhearted, sweet and amazing young man” in a GoFundMe page set up on the family’s behalf.

The last time a Marine recruit died during boot camp training at Parris Island happened in March of 2016 when Raheel Siddiqui, a Muslim recruit, fell to his death from the third floor of his barracks during training. Following his death, a hazing investigation led to charges against former Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix for physically and mentally abusing Siddiqui prior to his apparent suicide. Felix was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing more than a dozen recruits at Parris Island.