Marines Suspend Eight DI’s in Wake of Tharp Drowning
Three additional drill instructors were suspended following the death last month of a Marine recruit, who drowned in a training pool the day after he allegedly was struck and grabbed during a training session, Marine Corps officials said Friday. Five Marines, including the platoon’s senior drill instructor, had already been suspended and a sixth put on administrative duty as the February 8 death of Jason Tharp was investigated. The three latest drill instructors suspended were members of Tharp’s platoon, the Marines said in a statement.
A Marine spokesman at the Pentagon said the actions by the drill instructors seen in the video appear to violate regulations for dealing with recruits. “The latest suspensions are based upon statements made to investigators by other members of Tharp’s platoon, and alleged improper contact by the three drill instructors during previous training,” Friday’s Marine statement said. “If the allegations are substantiated, the drill instructors will be held accountable for their actions as directed under the applicable laws and regulations.”
At the time the news came out, I suspected suicide as the most likely explanation for Tharp’s death. It’s still not clear what happened, and there’s no evidence that’s been made public of foul play, but it does seem that the DIs went beyond the limits of the regulations.
A televised report on CNN’s Headline News features a Capt. Marriot, who did an investigation months ago of the swim training for instructors at Camp Johnson and cited “a complete disregard for safety.” There may be a systemic problem in that case.
There’s a fine line between abusive treatment and pushing a recruit so that he can make it through the rigors of Boot. DIs are tasked with making that call, turning civilians into Marines who will have to endure pressures far more demanding than being pushed and yelled at.