Parris Island Hazing So Intense Marine Recruit Needed Skin Grafts To Treat Chemical Burns


By Jonah Bennett

A Marine recruit required skin grafts for chemical burns on his buttocks after suffering extreme hazing from a drill instructor at Parris Island.

New documents provided to The Washington Post state that the recruit’s skin was “liquefied” after he performed unauthorized exercises in 2012 while covered in bleach at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

The recruit tried his best to stay in training, as he was informed that if he asked for medical attention, he would not graduate. Instead, he tried to use burn cream to treat the injuries, but he eventually caved and sought medical attention because his condition kept worsening. The burns were second and third degree in severity. This is the first time the recruit’s injuries are coming to the forefront in public.

Former Sgt. Jeffrey VanDyke, the drill instructor implicated in the burn case, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2014.

“I know I need to face the punishment because I have done wrong things,” VanDyke told investigators. “Whatever punishment is deemed appropriate, I will accept. I know my career as a Marine is over, which I hate because I love being a Marine and fighting for my country.”

VanDyke, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan, told investigators he did not remember using bleach.

Thousands of pages of documents indicate the extent of the hazing scandal at Parris Island, which recently came to light after the death of Muslim recruit Raheel Siddiqui in 2016.

Siddiqui died after falling 40 feet from a stairwell on March 18, 2016, and the service has labeled his death a suicide. His family disagrees with the assessment.

The drill instructor involved, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, faces numerous charges, among them cruelty and maltreatment. Felix also allegedly put another Muslim recruit in an industrial-sized dryer while it was running in 2015.

In response to public outcry against hazing, the Marine Corps has increased the number of drill instructors watching over recruits and emphasized to the instructors the importance of not abusing that role of trust.

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