A man accused of stabbing five people at a Hanukkah celebration in New York tried to be a Marine, but washed out of boot camp after little more than a month, Corps officials confirmed to Task & Purpose on Tuesday.
Grafton E. Thomas is charged with attempted murder and committing a hate crime in connection with the Dec. 28 attack. He is accused of entering a rabbi's home in Monsey, New York, and then attacking members of a nearby synagogue with a machete.
His attorney Michael Sussman has told media that Thomas briefly served in the Marine Corps, but the Marine Corps confirmed on Tuesday that Thomas was separated before earning his Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.
Thomas attended recruit training from Nov. 20 until Dec. 24, 2002, a Marine Corps statement says. He left the Corps as an E-1 private.
Stephanie K. Baer of BuzzFeed first reported that Thomas was kicked out of boot camp for "fraudulent enlistment," but a Marine Corps spokesman declined to say exactly why Thomas failed to complete recruit training.
"Mr. Thomas' separation was administrative in nature, therefore I cannot provide any specifics due to privacy concerns," said Capt. Karoline Foote.
Recruits do not become Marines until they graduate from recruit training, although they are first referred to as Marines upon completing The Crucible training event, after which they receive their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblems.
"We have men and women from across America who enlist in the hopes of earning the title of United States Marine," Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bobby Yarbrough, a Marine Corps spokesman at Parris Island, South Carolina, told Task & Purpose. "Many don't make it, due to attrition, fraudulent enlistment, injury or other matters."
"You don't actually earn the title of Marine until the day you walk across the parade deck," Yarbrough added.