COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The deaths of two Marine Corps recruits at Parris Island in South Carolina during the past eight months have renewed calls for congressional scrutiny into the service’s tough training regimen.
“The loss of a second recruit raises serious questions,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, said in a statement issued in Michigan. “I am committed to getting to the root of this issue.”
Dingell had pressed the Marine Corps for months to look into the March 18 death of one of her constituents, Raheel Siddiqui, 20, of Taylor, Michigan.
Following Siddiqui’s death, the Marine Corps announced it conducted three investigations that uncovered widespread hazing and abuse, with possible punishments in store for up to 20 Marine leaders on the installation.
On Tuesday, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gregory Carroll identified the second recruit to die as 18-year-old Zachary Boland of Madison, Alabama, who passed away Nov. 4.
Carroll said Boland was found unconscious in his barracks bed around 8 p.m.
Carroll said emergency responders were called to the scene and they transferred Boland to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead 90 minutes later.
In its September announcement, the Marine Corps said Siddiqui committed suicide. But the service also said they had uncovered widespread hazing and maltreatment of recruits and young drill instructors that had occurred back to 2015.
Siddiqui’s family in Michigan contends he was hazed prior to his death.
Marine Corps officials insisted at the time that the hazing had been found only in Siddiqui’s training group, the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, which is one of four training battalions at the site.
The Marine Corps also said it had identified up to 20 officers, drill instructors and other leaders who face administrative or potential criminal charges for taking part in the misconduct or turning a blind eye to it.
So far, the Marine Corps has not announced any formal follow-up to those investigations.
Boland was a member of the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion.
Meanwhile, Carroll said another recruit remains in critical condition after falling from a building Oct. 28. The recruit has not been identified, according to his family’s wishes, the spokesman said.
“The recruit arrived at Parris Island on Oct. 24 and was undergoing initial processing prior to beginning recruit training,” Carrol said. He fell from the second story of the recruit training center, the spokesman said.
Dingell said she wants to see complete investigations into all the incidents.
“The men and women who sign up to serve our country should not be dying in boot camp, and this third incident in eight months must be investigated thoroughly and expeditiously,” the congresswoman said.
Ed Buice, a spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said it is conducting separate investigations into Boland’s death and the Oct. 28 fall.
“There are no signs of foul play in either incident,” Buice said.
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