‘This was supposed to be a father figure.’ Mother of Marine recruit who died is step closer to justice

A mother of a Marine recruit who died during training last year is one step closer to getting justice for her son.

News 12 Staff

Dec 16, 2022, 11:56 PM

Updated 585 days ago

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A mother of a Marine recruit who died during training last year is one step closer to getting justice for her son. This comes now that a Marine drill instructor is facing charges related to her son’s death.
“How does this happen to a healthy 19-year-old who wants to serve his country and do good? How does that happen?” asks Stacie Beals.
The Christmas tree is up, and the decorations are out at the Beals’ home. But Christmas won’t ever be the same after the death of PFC. Dalton Beals.
“He’d open that present, he’d get this big grin…I remember the iPhone. The first time he got his iPhone and he just got that big grin on his face,” Stacie Beals says.
It was a sweltering June Day on Parris Island, South Carolina last year when Dalton died during the final round of boot camp known as the Crucible. The Marines have charged Staff Sgt. Steven Smiley with negligent homicide and other charges. Smiley was arraigned on Wednesday.
“This was supposed to be a father figure. It was a senior drill instructor that was supposed to be a father figure to these recruits that treated them this way,” Stacie Beals says.
The case is headed toward a general court martial in April. But Stacie Beals says she still gets messages from family members of young Marines who say drill instructors are pushing recruits to unsafe levels in training.
“They have no advocate. There’s no advocate for them there – at all. This drill instructor should have been his advocate, but he wasn’t. He was the one who misled him the worst,” Stacie Beals says. “I don’t want [Smiley] to just be the fall guy. This has to go up many levels.”
The general court martial could take as long as three weeks to complete. It is expected to begin in April.


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