The Marine Corps has completed three command-level investigations into allegations of abuse and maltreatment at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, to include an investigation into circumstances surrounding the March 18, 2016, death of Recruit Raheel Siddiqui.
Findings from the Siddiqui investigation conclude that Siddiqui’s death was the result of suicide. Additionally, the investigations revealed departures from the policies and procedures established for Marine Corps recruit training, specifically within three platoons within Third Recruit Training Battalion. Commanders and senior enlisted advisors at the series, company, battalion and regimental level were relieved in the wake of Recruit Siddiqui’s death and a number of drill instructors have been suspended. Currently, twenty Recruit Training Regiment personnel have been identified for possible military justice or administrative action.
The findings of the investigations include allegations of:
-Recurrent physical and verbal abuse of recruits by drill instructors, with a noted insufficiency of oversight and supervision at various command levels;
-Improper assignment of a drill instructor for duty while under investigation for previous allegations of assault and hazing;
-Maltreatment of new drill instructors by more experienced drill instructors;
-Gaps in awareness by commanders regarding their roles within the command investigation process; and,
-Anomalies and inconsistencies in the policies and procedures responding to suicidal ideations or statements.
Training and Education Command officials have initiated immediate actions at our recruit training depots to prevent the recurrence of issues identified in the investigations, to include:
- Mandatory suspension of personnel who are being investigated for recruit abuse, hazing, or maltreatment;
- Additional visibility and reviews of investigations above the regimental level;
- Modification of the assignment process for drill instructors and officers;
- The cessation of any practice that is based on differentiating between drill instructors of differing experience levels (with the exception of the Senior Drill Instructor billet);
-Establish and enforce a zero-tolerance policy for “hat-hazing” (or hazing among drill instructors);
- Increased officer presence and supervision of training; and,
- Review and revise mental health processes, procedures, and suicide prevention protocols.
"I fully support and endorse these initial actions,” said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller.
“When America's men and women commit to becoming Marines, we make a promise to them. We pledge to train them with firmness, fairness, dignity and compassion. Simply stated, the manner in which we make Marines is as important as the finished product. Recruit training is, and will remain, physically and mentally challenging so that we can produce disciplined, ethical, basically-trained Marines," said Neller.
Neller added, "We mourn the loss of Recruit Siddiqui, and we will take every step necessary to prevent tragic events like this from happening again."
For more information media representatives should contact the Office of U.S. Marine Corps Communication at (703) 614-4309 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Training and Education Command at (703) 432-8164. Copies of the investigations will be posted to the Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps FOIA website at: http://www.hqmc.marines.mil/Agencies/USMC-FOIA/frr/.