SP5 Mark Kuzinski The Ribbon Creek Incident, at Perris Island Recruit Depot in 1956, where a Marine Drill Instructor (DI) killed six of his recruits, is burned into the consciousness of every Marine DI, their Series Commander (the Officer, usually a First Lieutenant, who immediately oversees/Supervises and is there to Keep a Watrchful Eye on the Drill Instructors, and make sure they do not go "Too Far" in their training of recruits, and hurt or kill a recruit), and every Commanding Officer of The Perris Island and Camp Pendleton Recruit depots: Sunday, April 8th, 1956 something went awry and ever since the date and the name Staff Sergeant Matthew McKeon have tainted recruit depot Parris Island and Marine Corps history. Platoon 71 and the names of the recruits who died live on.
If you looked at some of the battles the Marine Corp had you could understand why the training is hard, Physically and Mental. If recruits panic they can lose their life. I was 17 at parris island (59) If you did exactly as the DI said you would safe. All recruits had to jump in a pool 20 ft. deep weather we could swim or not. That is hard to do if you cant swim' The DI said if you cant swim we will pull you out, If you panic we might not. But they always did pull you out. We had live fire exercise MG, firing over our heads chest hi. with c-4 explosions going off around us crawling under barbwire. WE were warned not to panic or to stand up. Nobody did. I was scared but I always tried to do what the DI said. That's why being a Marine is forever. The EGA. means more to me than any patch.
I do know that deaths are pretty rare at P.I. There was an infamous incident before my time there (Jun, '77 - Sep '77) that involved recruits being marched into a marsh or stream and a recruit's death resulted, apparently from drowning, although I really don't know the details and they were never explained to me. I also know that there was a accidental shooting on the range just before I was there, apparently a recruit, during live fire, turned to ask a D.I. a question and his weapon discharged, killing the recruit to his side (which is why flipping a weapon's safety on immediately before removing one's weapon from the shoulder is drilled into each recruit's head over and over). This is a practice I still perform without conscious thought, every time I go to the range. I'm sure in the long history of the Corps there must have been other deaths, The Profession of Arms being a dangerous occupation which is one reason why it's not to be chosen as a job lightly. I'd especially have to believe that at least one death has occurred during the live fire that is shot over recruit's heads while crawling though the mud and under barbed wire. I know this was shown during a scene in the movie, "Jarhead", which is based on a Marine's actual experiences. It's always sad when a Service Person dies, but doubly so when killed by friendly fire.
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