Former Recruit Commander Pleads Guilty in Parris Island Hazing Scandal

Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon (Marine Corps Photo)
Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon (Marine Corps Photo)

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- A Marine recruit training battalion commander, who was fired last year amid a massive hazing scandal, pleaded guilty Monday to three charges in a special court-martial that stemmed from failing to remove a drill instructor accused of recruit abuse.

Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, making a false official statement, and conduct unbecoming an officer as part of a pre-trial agreement.

He faces a maximum penalty of forfeiture of two-thirds of his pay for 12 months, two months of restriction, and further administrative actions, such as a letter of reprimand.

Kissoon plans to retire from the Marine Corps and has waived his right to a board of inquiry before the secretary of the Navy sets his retirement grade.

"I know I have made regrettable mistakes," Kissoon said at his court-martial. "I am extremely disappointed in myself. I must be held accountable."

He was one of three senior leaders fired amid widespread hazing allegations within 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, which Kissoon commanded.

The worst of the accusations involved a senior drill instructor, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, who allegedly threw a Muslim recruit in an industrial dryer in a nighttime interrogation-style hazing ritual.

Felix was later implicated in a Marine Corps investigation that found drill instructor mistreatment may have provided the impetus for the suicide of another Muslim recruit, 20-year-old Raheel Siddiqui, in March 2016.

Felix was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge in the hazing case.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at

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