Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Only Way To Art School Is Through Parris Island, Boyo 

The Associated Press has a story that bugs me on a lot of levels:

In his last letter home, Marine recruit Jason Tharp said he was sick and he wanted out of the Marines so badly that the military’s promise of money he could use to study art in college didn’t matter anymore.

“If you can get me out I will be forever grateful,” Tharp wrote in his last letter mailed from Parris Island to his parents in Sutton, W.Va., on Feb. 2, six days before the 19-year-old drowned on the last day of water survival training.

“I don’t care about the money. My health is in jeopardy because we don’t have enough time to eat and I am getting sicker and sicker. I am serious this time and I will use all of my power to try and get out, too. Thanks if you help me.”

The letter said he feared he would get pneumonia, coughing up blood like some of the other recruits. He could barely do the required number of sit-ups and pull-ups, and it didn’t seem like he was improving…

Three investigations are under way, and six Marines have been suspended following Jason Tharp’s death a day after WIS-TV of Columbia caught him on video being grabbed and shoved by a drill instructor at the side of the pool…

…Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Robert Byrd, both D-W.Va., have also requested investigations. In a letter Wednesday to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Byrd asked Rumsfeld to give the matter his “personal attention.”

…Johnny Tharp said he tried to make sure his son knew that he had options to attend school. “He didn’t want to be a burden on us,” the father said. “He thought the Marines was his only way there.”

Drowned during “survival” training. Wanted to go to art school. Didn’t want to be a burden to his parents. Don’t you love recruiters? But hey, it’s okay, because the Don of Creep is going to give it his personal—non-machine-signed—attention. I’m sure the parents will be reassured that their son did not die in vain. Wanna bet those pesky teevee cameras won’t be around Parris Island anymore?

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