Marine recruit's death spurs important investigation
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - United States Marine Corps senior drill instructor Staff Sergeant Hugo Cherena (C) of Waterbury, Connecticut addresses his recruits during boot camp Parris Island, South Carolina. The boot camp is the same location Raheel Siddiqui was training at when he died. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The investigation into a U.S. Marine recruit's death is widening into a larger look at the culture of Marine boot camps.
Raheel Siddiqui was a 20-year-old former high school valedictorian who was training at Parris Island, South Carolina. He died in March after falling 40 feet from a staircase.
The Parris Island facility is arguably one of the Marines most well-known training locations. The facility has stood for just over a century.
A few commanding officers were already fired over his death, but the investigation is still unfolding.
Fifteen Marine Corps drill instructors are now being investigated in the aftermath of Siddiqui's death. They are suspected of physical abuse and not properly supervising recruits.
"We need to ensure we've got a strong military. But we also need to ensure that when a young person believes in the most basic freedoms this country stands that they're not going to find themselves in a clothes dryer or being hazed because of their religion," said Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan.
Siddiqui was a Muslim Pakistani-American from eastern Michigan. His family told Newsy's partners at WXYZ that his heritage brought on racist comments and abuse from other Marines.