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Marine recruit dies near end of training

A 19-year-old Marine Corps recruit died during a final training exercise in Parris Island, S.C., military officials said on Monday.

Pfc. Dalton Beals of Pennsville, N.J., died Friday during an exercise known as “The Crucible,” the grueling 54-hour test for recruits at the end of their 13-week training course, the base said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“Private First Class Dalton Beals passed away during the conduct of The Crucible with the new Marines of Echo Company. Our deepest condolences go out to Dalton’s family and to the Marines and staff of Echo Company,” the statement said.

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The cause of Beals's death is currently under investigation. Additional details were not given.

First required for graduation from Parris Island in 1996, The Crucible allows limited food and sleep while Marine recruits complete 48 miles of hiking loaded with heavy gear, simulated attacks at all hours, and a final nine-mile hike.

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Tuesday ordered U.S. and New Jersey flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on Wednesday to honor Beals, who was set to graduate on June 18.

“Private First Class Beals was beloved by his family, his community, and his state,” Murphy said in a statement. “His recent passing is a tragic loss for New Jersey and for our country. Pfc. Beals had his whole life and his career ahead of him, and I know that he would have continued to serve with distinction, honor, and bravery.”

At least seven Marine recruits have died since 2000 at Parris Island, which has been open since 1915 and is one of two Marine training depots in the country.