Attorneys for the family of Paul Trerice, 21, of Algonac, Mich., who died while preforming disciplinary exercise aboard the carrier Ranger, have demanded $1 million in compensation from the Navy for the young man's death.
A letter from the family, mailed Tuesday to Navy Secretary John F. Lehman, demanded that the Navy take responsibility for Trerice's death, punish those involved and terminate the practice that led to the incident.
Ann Arbor attorney Steven W. Rhodes said the letter was sent in preparation to filing a federal suit charging that the death was a violation of Trerice's civil rights.
Meanwhile, Trerice's father, William, said Ranger Capt. Daniel Pederson called his home Wednesday from the ship, now in the Pacific, to offer condolences. Trerice said Pederson advised him not to believe statements from Ranger crewman who have disputed the Navy's version of how Trerice died.
The Navy said Trerice died of heat stroke and cardiac arrest following a punitive program of bread and water and calisthenics while the Ranger was in the Philippines.
Some crewmen have charged that Trerice was not allowed to eat breakfast before being ordered to do the punitive calisthenics, as the Navy had said. Trerice was being punished for falling asleep at his post and leaving the ship without permission.