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Senators ask for probe into death of recruit



Published: Thu, February 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's two senators have requested investigations into the death of a Marine recruit who drowned during a water survival training exercise.

Jason R. Tharp, 19, died Feb. 8 at the Marine Corps base at Parris Island, S.C.

The day before his death, a Columbia, S.C., television station caught Tharp on video being grabbed and shoved by a Marine drill instructor. The instructor and four other Marines who witnessed the incident have been suspended pending an investigation.

On Wednesday, Sen. Robert C. Byrd asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to give the investigation his "personal attention."

"Many military experts who watched this tape and subsequently were interviewed by the media found the treatment of Mr. Tharp to go beyond the Military Code of Conduct," Byrd, D-W.Va., wrote in a letter to Rumsfeld.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, also a Democrat, on Tuesday asked Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee to conduct a "full investigation."

Recruits must be able to swim 10 meters underwater and 25 meters above water in the deep and shallow ends of the pool. Officials have said Tharp entered the pool voluntarily the day he died and was swimming the 25-meter requirement.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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