Marine Corps Identifies Recruit Who Died During 'Crucible' Event at Boot Camp

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Pfc. Dalton Beals
Pfc. Dalton Beals, 19, from Pennsville Township, New Jersey. (U.S. Marine Corps)

The Marine Corps identified a recruit who died Friday during the culminating "Crucible" event at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.

Pfc. Dalton Beals, 19, died during the event, according to a Marine Corps spokesperson, who added that the cause of death is under investigation.

"On Friday, June 4th, Private First Class Dalton Beals passed away during the conduct of The Crucible with the new Marines of Echo Company," a statement from Parris Island officials said. "Our deepest condolences go out to Dalton's family and to the Marines and staff of Echo Company."

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An online fundraiser set up on behalf of Beals' family described the recruit as "a son, a brother, a friend of many, an incredible athlete and a United States Marine."

He had been set to graduate June 18, it adds.

His mother described him as "the most sincere, kindhearted, sweet and amazing young man," according to the fundraising page.

Beals was from Pennsville Township, New Jersey, and graduated from Pennsville Memorial High School with the class of 2020. He also completed several courses at Salem Community College in Carneys Point, New Jersey.

The Crucible is the final challenge for Marine recruits, following 13 weeks of intensive training. It is a 54-hour endurance test that assesses what the recruits have learned, and limits food and sleep.

The final part of the event is a 9-mile ruck march from the training ground to a ceremony field, where the recruits are given their Eagle, Globe and Anchor pins, symbolizing that they have become Marines.

Recruit deaths at boot camp are rare but not unheard of. In a 2016 scandal that made national headlines, a 20-year-old recruit, Raheel Siddiqui, died after apparently jumping from the third floor of a barracks building. Siddiqui's death uncovered a pattern of hazing by drill instructors that resulted in firings and prosecutions. The recruit's family continues to dispute the classification of Siddiqui's death as a suicide.

The most infamous tragedy at Parris Island took place in 1956, when a junior drill instructor marched his recruits into a swampy body of water at the depot known as Ribbon Creek. Six of the recruits drowned. The drill instructor was ultimately court-martialed, but allowed to remain in the Marine Corps.

-- Hope Hodge Seck contributed to this report.

-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

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