Pfc Dalton Beals – Marine Recruit Dies During The Crucible

Pfc Dalton Beals

Pfc Dalton Beals passed away during the intense “Crucible” event at the end of his training at Parris Island. He was set to graduate on June 18. The Marine Corps decided that even though he had not completed his training, because of his dedication and efforts in the 13 week training, he earned the title “Marine.” The cause of death is being investigated.

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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.

Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Yarbrough

Beals had been training with the new recruits from Echo Company. The Crucible is a 54 hour endurance test that assesses their physical strength, skills, and Marine Corps values learned over the course of their training. It limits their food and sleep, ending with a 9 mile hike carrying a heavy pack. The recruits are broken into squads for the test. The hike ends at the Iwo Jima memorial at Peatross Deck, where they are handed their Eagle, Globe and Anchor, signifying earning the title of United States Marine.

When a person asked how it is that Beals could be a “recruit” and still be classified as a PFC, the Marine Corps responded:

When a person enlists in the Marine Corps they are assigned the rank or paygrade of E-1, E-2, etc. They are being paid by the Department of Defense based on those paygrades even while still in recruit training. Although we use the term “Recruits” to label those undergoing recruit training, they are technically Privates, Privates First Class, etc. Recruit is not a rank on the DoD pay scale; it’s simply a title used to denote those in training. Many years ago DIs simply called all trainees “Privates” even though some of them enlisted as PFCs or would even graduate as Lance Corporals. In some situations, such as this, we use the actual official rank to describe the person.

GySgt Tyler Hlavac, MCRD Parris Island Communication Strategy and Operations

Beals was a native of New Jersey, and graduated from Pennsville Memorial High School in 2020. He was 19 years old and had completed some courses at Salem Community College.

Beals was an “amazing athlete,” according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family, noting that his mother described him as “the most sincere, kindhearted, sweet and amazing young man.”

His awards include the National Defense Medal.

Marine Corps Times

The incident is currently under investigation, and the USMC reminds people that speculation on the cause of death is premature. Several parents who have recruits are worried that they are in danger, but the Parris Island communications Strategy and Operations office stated that there are safety features built in to The Crucible.

 An investigation will be conducted into the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Pfc. Beals. It would be premature to speculate on the investigation itself or the findings.

Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Yarbrough Communication Strategy and Operations

According to numerous military outlets, recruit deaths are not common, but not unheard of. We’ve reported on some of them, in particular a controversial death that the parents still claim was not a suicide: Raheel Siddiqui, who had been abused by a drill instructor. The DI was eventually sentenced to 10 years in the brig for abusing recruits.


Featured photo: US Marine Corps, Pfc Dalton Beals

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