US Marine Corps drill instructor charged over trainee death
The marines, according to investigations, should have stopped all physical training when temperatures at Parris Island reportedly reached "black flag" levels.
After allegedly contributing to a recruit's death from overheating last year, a drill instructor at the US Marine Corps training facilities on Parris Island, South Carolina, has been charged with negligent homicide.
While participating in the "crucible event" of recruit training at Parris Island, Dalton Beals passed away, according to the military news website Task & Purpose, on June 4, 2021. The instructor, Staff Sgt Steven T. Smiley, was in charge at the time.
Investigators found that despite the fact that it was over 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) that day, Smiley had not properly supervised Beals, 19, and the other recruits, forcing them to endure additional physical training.
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According to Task & Purpose, which also cited a marines spokesperson, by Friday, the Marine Corps had referred Smiley to a general court-martial to answer to allegations of negligent homicide, obstruction of justice, maltreatment of subordinates, and disobeying orders.
Smiley lacked “the maturity, temperament and leadership skills” necessary for a senior drill instructor, leaving recruits fearful of going to him with medical issues or other problems, according to investigators.
Recruits stated that Beals was clearly exhausted, weak, and otherwise "out of it" before he passed away. According to Task & Purpose, he tripped on a hike while also "teetering and wobbling," which prompted a recruit to ask about his well-being.
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On that same day, another recruit sought medical attention for heat exhaustion and had a fatally high core body temperature of 107.1F. To cool him off, fellow marines placed the recruit in a polar bag.
The marines should have stopped all physical training when temperatures at Parris Island reportedly reached "black flag" levels at the time Beals died.
A new #Pentagon report highlights the increase of sexual assault in the ranks of the #US army, a trend that's worrying, to say the least, to the government and the military institution. pic.twitter.com/m5ppORXF2B— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) September 11, 2022
In a statement to Task & Purpose, Beals' mother, Stacie Beals, referred to the accusations against Smiley as "a long time coming." adding, "We're just waiting for the trial and for justice to be served.
Due to a legal principle that forbids lawsuits against the federal government over injuries to military personnel, the Beals family cannot seek civil damages for Dalton's passing.