DRILL INSTRUCTORS GUNNY SGT FELIX AND SGT
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Lynn Anderson had a 1970's hit song "I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN." Those of you who are long-in-the-tooth, like our editors will remember the song.
The lyrics of that hit record should always serve as a warning to those intending to enlist in the United States Marine Corps that the training they are going to get, at either Parris Island or San Diego, is among the toughest in the world. They had better be mentally and physically prepared for what they are about to endure.
What motivated slightly-built, bookish high school graduate Raheel Siddiqi to sign up for what later proved to be his death warrant will never be known. He either jumped or fell 38 feet from a barracks balcony to his death March 18, 2016 during extreme hazing by his D.I.
Now, Gunnery Sergeant Joseph Felix and Sgt. Michael Eldridge are facing court-martial in that and other bizarre 2016 incidents. Both are charged with cruelty and maltreatment, being drunk and disorderly, making a false official statement, and failure to obey a lawful order.
NO ROOM IN THE CORPS FOR
Felix is in worse trouble because an investigation showed Siddiqi died in the process of running away from the drill instruictor after a prolonged period of harassment. There are no witnesses who saw the gunny actually shove the boot over the balcony. But the fact the fall killed him is unquestionable. A medical examiner has dubbed the death a "suicide."
As for the junior drill instructor, Eldrdge is accused of taking part in another incident where a Muslim-American recruit was ordered to climb into an industrial-size clothes dryer and turning it on with the boot inside. He also is charged with calling the victim a "terrorist" and taunting him about his religion, mockingly asking the boot if he" took part in" the attacks on the U.S. Sept. 11, 2001.