On Jan 13, Private First Class Joshua Islam died while taking the Recon screening at Pulgas Training Tank, Camp Pendleton, CA.  He was 18.  No details of the circumstances of his death have yet been released, as it is under investigation, as always happens with a death in training.

There have already been many people, who have no more information on how he died than anyone else, raising hell about “where were the instructors?”  They are blaming the Marines of the Recon Training Company, in spite of not knowing anything more about the situation than the fact that PFC Islam somehow died in training.

Reconnaissance is a high-risk job, and the training is high-risk training.  PFC Islam was a volunteer; everyone who tries out for Recon is a volunteer.  We all knew the risks before stepping forward and saying, I want to do this.  As difficult as it is to deal with at the time, people die in training.  In 2004, PFC Scott McVey died in the pool.  He had been taking ephedra and his heart gave out.  The next year, PFC Nicholas Wilde died of heat stroke on land nav.  They found his body in a draw after he failed to make the drop-dead time.  Sgt Seth Algrim was accidentally shot during training in 2006.  In 2009, Sgt Ryan Pape burned in on a jump and died.  Last year, Sgt Caleb Medley was also killed in a jump accident.

It happens.  As much as we mourn the loss of our brothers, those who ignorantly start trying to assign blame without first knowing the situation are not honoring those we have lost.  They are only serving their own egos.

Honor PFC Islam’s sacrifice.  He died in the service of his country just as surely as if he had been killed in combat overseas.

Fair winds and following seas, little brother.

Never Above You, Never Below You, Always Beside You.