Private Raheel Siddiqui died March 18 — not even two weeks after arriving at the Parris Island recruit training depot — where about half of the service’s recruits are trained each year.
Siddiqui’s supervisor at the South Carolina depot was Col. Paul D. Cucinotta.
Cucinotta has been removed from his recruit training commander position, due to a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to serve in that position… relating to instances where policies and procedures were not followed,” the Washington Post reports.
Also fired from his position was SgtMajor Nicolas Deabreau, according to the Associated Press. Deabreau was the top enlisted leader with Recruit Training Regiment at MCRD Parris Island, said Capt. Gregory Carrol, a Parris Island spokesman.
Without getting into too many specifics, Marine officials said that Cucinotta’s removal Monday night was based on information that emerged “during the course of an ongoing command investigation.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, family members said Siddiqui had threatened to commit suicide early in recruit training, but returned to his training after “committing to becoming a Marine.”
An attorney representing the family also told the local paper that just before he died, Siddiqui fainted during a drill and was revived after an instructor smacked him.
Family members say the 20-year-old recruit fell 40 feet to this death after ‘running out of a squad bay and jumping over a stairwell railing’. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) questioned whether Siddiqui, a Pakistani-American from her district, was hazed or bullied.
While the NCIS says no foul play was involved in Siddiqui’s death, it’s still uncertain whether or not he was hazed or bullied.
“Regarding your concern that hazing may have played a role in Private Siddiqui’s death, it would be premature to comment given that the investigations are still ongoing,” said Brig. Gen. David J. Furness in response to Dingell’s inquiry.
Cucinotta has been in the Marine Corps since 1992 and arrived at Parris Island last fall– where he was the second-highest ranking officer.
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