During the final agonizing stage of Marine Corps boot camp, known as the ‘Crucible’, a Marine private first class passed away.
Pfc. Dalton Beals, who was 19-years-old, died during the Marine training exercise Friday in Parris Island, South Carolina.
“The Crucible is the culminating event of Marine basic training in which recruits face physical and mental challenges and get little sleep or food,” according to Task & Purpose. “The 54-hour training event ends with a 9-mile hike back to the parade field where recruits receive an eagle, globe, and anchor pin which signifies they’ve earned the title of Marine.”
A recruit hasn’t died during boot camp training at Parris Island since March 2016.
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“Our deepest condolences go out to Dalton’s family and to the Marines and staff of Echo Company,” the Corps said in the post.
Beals was being paid as a private first class when he died, Marine spokesman Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Yarbrough told Task & Purpose.
“The Drill instructors and Company staff made the determination that based on his resolve and dedication throughout recruit training and the Crucible, Pfc. Beals earned the title Marine,” Yarbrough told the outlet.
Beals’ cause of death is currently under investigation, Marine officials told Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.
Beals was set to graduate training on June 18th. He was part of Echo Company, platoon 2040.
On a GoFundMe page, Beals’ mother described him as ”the most sincere, kindhearted, sweet and amazing young man.” As of Wednesday, the fundraiser had raised over $32,800.
Beals was an “amazing athlete,” according to the GoFundMe page. He competed on his high school football, track, and wrestling teams.
The Governor of New Jersey ordered that U.S. and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings on Wednesday in honor of Beals.