A US Marines recruit from South Jersey who was due to complete his boot camp in a few days died during a grueling 54-hour rite of passage known in “The Crucible”.
Pfc. Dalton Beals of Pennsville, Salem County died Friday during the highlight event at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, the Daily Voice reported.
He “died while conducting The Crucible with the new Marines of Echo Company,” said a Marines statement, according to Military.com.
“Our deepest condolences go to Dalton’s family and the Marines and employees of the Echo Company. The cause of death is currently being investigated, ”he added.
A GoFundMe account set up on the family’s behalf describes Beals as “a wonderful marine who left us way too early”.
The budding warrior was due to graduate on June 18th.
“His amazing mother described him as ‘the most sincere, kindhearted, cutest, and most amazing young man,'” said the account, which had raised $ 21,308 by noon on Tuesday.
Pennsville Memorial High School, which Beals graduated from in 2020, mourned his loss on Facebook.
“The flags at the Pennsville High School Memorial and Stadium Complex will be hoisted on half the staff in honor of the PMHS 2020 graduate and the United States Marine Dalton Beals,” said a statement.
“Since Pennsville High School is a memorial school, his sacrifice for his country will be forever remembered, along with those who went before him, George Callan (Grade 62) and William Keeler (Grade 66),” she added .
The Crucible, the final challenge after 13 weeks of rigorous training, is a 54-hour endurance event that tests what the exhausted recruits have learned.
The final part is a 9 mile march to a ceremony where the recruits receive their iconic eagle, globe and anchor pins that signal their status as newly minted members of the corps.
Beals is being referred to as a full-fledged Marine, the Daily Voice reported.