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A Marine major in charge of a training program at Camp Pendleton has been relieved of his command after an investigation into the drowning of an enlisted Marine concluded that the major had allowed unsafe conditions.
A Marine Corps investigation said that Major Adam Burch had placed too high a value on having each Marine finish the swimming training while he was commanding officer of the Reconnaissance Training Company, which includes swimming, and did not place enough significance on insuring their safety.
Pvt. 1st-class Joshua Islam, 18, of Union City, N.C., drowned Jan. 13 after refusing to quit during the training.
“[Islam] continuously said, ‘I can’t, I can’t,’ but the swimming instructors answered back, ‘do you quit?’” the Marine Corps Times reported. The newspaper received a copy of the investigation report under the Freedom of Information Act.
Islam refused to quit and instead reentered the pool to continue attempting to meet the standards, according to the report. Exhausted, he came to the side of the pool and collapsed, the report said.
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