PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. — Authorities are investigating after a U.S. Marine Corps recruit died Friday while completing the final, grueling exercise of boot camp in South Carolina, according to officials and multiple reports.
Officials with the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island said Private First Class Dalton Beals died Friday while completing an exercise known as the Crucible. The Marine Corps Times described the event as a “three-day capstone, which ends with a 9-mile hike starting long before the sun is up, seeing Marines lug their rifles and up to 70-pound packs.”
Additional information about the circumstances surrounding Beals’ death was not immediately available.
In a Facebook post published Monday, officials at Pennsville High School in New Jersey identified Beals as a 2020 graduate of the high school. He was 19 years old, according to The Associated Press.
“Dalton was a kid everyone liked,” Pennsville football coach Mike Healy told NJ.com on Tuesday. “Coaching him was one of the biggest pleasures I had. He would do anything you asked him to do. He was invincible, never got hurt, he was able to fight through everything.”
Healy said Beals “always held out the younger kids, so everyone had a good relationship with him.”
“He meant a lot to a lot of people — a lot of these kids were still very close to him,” Healy said, according to NJ.com. “For the parents and the family, it’s the worst, but the community is definitely feeling it as well.”
On a GoFundMe page launched to help Beals’ family in the wake of his death, family members said he had been set to graduate from boot camp on June 18.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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