Top commander relieved of duty after training death of 18-year-old NC Marine

05/29/2014 6:58 PM

05/29/2014 7:05 PM

A top Marine Corps training commander has been relieved of his duties and sweeping training changes have been made after a four-month investigation into the death of Joshua Islam, an 18-year-old Marine from Weddington, North Carolina.

Islam died while undergoing an initial water screening test for the Marines Awaiting Reconnaissance Training, School of Infantry-West, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. His death was ruled a drowning.

Maj. Adam Burch was relieved from his post on May 15, Marines spokesman Col. Sean Gibson said Thursday.

An investigative report obtained by the Observer through a Freedom of Information Act Request detailed errors in judgment by trainers overseeing a 30-minute water treading exercise.

The report also found deficiencies in training and screening procedures.

An investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to determine if any criminal charges are warranted is pending, Gibson said.

Islam’s father, James Islam, who now lives in Gainesville, Fla., has been searching for answers as to why his son died. He told the Observer recently that his son, a high school athlete, was an excellent swimmer.

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