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This Former Parris Island Drill Instructor Is Being Separated From The Corps. Here's Why
The last of the former Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island drill instructors implicated in perhaps the most notorious trainee abuse scandal the Corps has seen in more than six decades has pleaded guilty to multiple violations of military code and is being separated from the service.
Sgt. Michael Eldridge pleaded guilty to failing to obey an order, disorderly conduct and maltreatment, according to the Corps, for his part in a July 2015 incident during which he, among other things, was accused of hazing a Muslim recruit by ordering him into a commercial clothes dryer and turning on the machine multiple times. Eldridge was alleged to have interrogated the recruit, Ameer Bourmeche, about his loyalty and to have made him renounce his faith before allowing him to exit the dryer.
Implicated in the same incident was former-Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, who in October was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge after a court-martial found him guilty of abusing Bourmeche — now a lance corporal — and former trainee Raheel Siddiqui just before his death in March 2016.
Eldridge entered his plea during a summary court-martial at an undisclosed date. He was reduced in rank to corporal, given 45 days restriction and, according to the Corps, is in the process of being administratively separated from the Marines.
The summary court-martial, a low-level proceeding, was part of a pre-trial agreement that required him to testify against Felix, who last fall faced general court-martial — the highest-level military court — at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
During Felix’s trial, government prosecutors painted him as a sadist with a pattern of targeting Muslim trainees, including Rekan Hawez — who also testified Felix ordered him into a dryer — Bourmeche and Siddiqui.
Siddiqui, 20, a Muslim and Pakistani-American from Taylor, Mich., died March 18, 2016, after falling three stories from his barracks following an altercation with Felix while trying to request permission to go to sickbay.
Felix was found to have made Siddiqui — who was reportedly had an extremely sore throat and had recently coughed up blood — perform a series of punitive exercises and, after the recruit collapsed, to have stood over him and struck him in the face. Moments later, Siddiqui reportedly jumped up, ran out the back door of his barracks and fell from a stairwell to the ground below.
Investigations of the incident spawned a hazing probe at Parris Island that uncovered further misconduct by drill instructors and supervision failures by senior leadership.
The scandal that ensued was arguably the biggest since 1956, when a Parris Island drill instructor was prosecuted after he led an unauthorized, punitive nighttime march into Ribbon Creek, where six recruits drowned.
Felix and Eldridge were the fifth and sixth, respectively, drill instructors to be referred to courts-martial in the wake of the probe.
And Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon is still scheduled to face general court-martial beginning March 12 at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Marine Training and Education Command spokesman Capt. Joshua Pena said Monday morning. Kissoon is charged with failing to sideline Felix, who the Corps says should not have been supervising Siddiqui’s training platoon because he was already being investigated for the dryer incidents.
Kissoon formerly led 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, which housed Kilo Company, Platoon 3042 — Siddiqui’s unit, led by then senior drill instructor Felix.
On March 31, 2016, the depot announced Kissoon had been relieved of command, a decision the Corps says was made the day before Siddiqui’s death.
Siddiqui’s family has filed a $100 million federal lawsuit claiming negligence on behalf of the government.
©2018 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.