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Former Parris Island DI Will Testify Against Fellow Marine In Hazing Case
A former Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island drill instructor linked to the hazing and abuse of a Muslim trainee has reportedly reached a plea agreement and will testify against a fellow Marine.
Sgt. Michael K. Eldridge will testify against Gunnery Sgt. Joseph A. Felix in the latter’s forthcoming general court-martial — the highest military court — slated to begin at the end of October, according to Military.com, which cited “multiple sources.”
A Marine Corps investigation linked both men, formerly drill instructors in the depot’s 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, to the hazing of Ameer Bourmeche. In July 2015, shortly before Bourmeche and his platoon mates graduated, he was ordered to get inside a commercial clothes dryer. The dryer was turned on repeatedly, and he suffered burns. During the incident he was interrogated about his Muslim faith and his loyalty to the U.S.
The Corps’ Training and Education Command announced Friday that Eldridge — who was previously facing a general court-martial for charges including cruelty and maltreatment — will now be tried at a low-level summary court-martial. The proceeding will not be open to the public. The Corps offered no explanation for the change.
Sgt. Michael Eldridge, a drill instructor for Platoon 3070, Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, steps into place for the initial drill evaluation July 15, 2013, on Parris Island, S.C.U.S. Marine Corps photo
Last week, The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette asked TECOM if Eldridge had reached a pre-trial plea agreement, or if he would testify against Felix. In response, TECOM spokesperson Capt. Joshua Pena wrote in a text message: “The command will not be able to provide any additional information before the conclusion of the proceedings. The command will provide an update following the conclusion of the summary court-martial.”
According to the Marine Corps Times, summary courts-martial “are typically used for relatively minor offenses and can result in a maximum punishment of 30 days’ confinement and loss of rank.”
Earlier last week the Corps said Eldridge’s case status has “changed” and was pending. Former Parris Island lead prosecutor and local attorney Brian Magee said that, when cases statuses are pending, a variety of things can be happening behind the scenes. Those things range from changes of venues — what has apparently happened to Eldridge’s case — to forthcoming guilty pleas that negate contested trials.
Magee was part of Eldridge’s defense team until a few weeks ago. Citing attorney-client privilege, he declined to discuss why he no longer represented Eldridge. When asked Friday if he knew about the status of Eldridge’s case, Magee said, “I have not been involved with his case in a while.”
Felix has also been linked to the death of former recruit Raheel Siddiqui on March 18, 2016.
A Marine Corps investigation found the two allegedly had an altercation moments before the recruit jumped from the third story of his barracks and later died of his injuries.
Siddiqui had reportedly tried to request permission from Felix, his senior drill instructor, to go to medical. Siddiqui apparently failed to appropriately convey the request, and Felix punished him with a series of punitive sprints across the barracks.
Siddiqui collapsed to the floor and, according to some witnesses, was non-responsive. Felix attempted to wake Siddiqui, then, reportedly, forcefully slapped him in the face multiple times. Then, Siddiqui jumped up, ran out the back of the barracks and vaulted over the third-story railing near the stairwell.
According to the Corps, Felix should not have been supervising Siddiqui’s platoon because he was already being investigated for the clothes dryer incident.
Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon — former 3rd Recruit Training Battalion commander — faces a general court-martial for failing to sideline Felix.
Kissoon was arraigned last week. No date has been set for his trial.
©2017 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
A fire broke out on a Navy amphibious assault ship Thursday night, leaving 11 sailors with minor injuries.
Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima reported smoke in the cargo hold at 11:45 p.m. The ship was pierside at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, where it's undergoing maintenance.
Supreme Court to consider whether military personnel can be prosecuted for rape long after the crime occurred
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider whether military personnel can be prosecuted for rape long after the crime occurred in an appeal by President Donald Trump's administration of a lower court ruling that overturned the rape conviction of an Air Force captain.
Little girls everywhere will soon have the chance to play with a set of classic little green Army soldiers that actually reflect the presence of women in the armed forces.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
The leader of a Chicago-area street gang has been arrested and charged with attempting to aid the ISIS terrorist group, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Jason Brown, also known as "Abdul Ja'Me," allegedly gave $500 on three separate occasions in 2019 to a confidential informant Brown believed would then wire it to an ISIS fighter engaged in combat in Syria. The purported ISIS fighter was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to a DoJ news release.