Up to 20 Marines face either criminal or disciplinary action, and the service has removed numerous senior officials at Parris Island after investigations found that they had not done enough to stop it. More than 100 other cases of abuse and hazing in the past few years at the recruit training center also have been substantiated, according to military documents. The service has not released any information about most of those.
Silverman, who has nearly 9 million Twitter followers, tweeted to the Marine Corps’ main account twice and once to another account affiliated with its Recruiting Command. She asked that the service “reassure” her that her nephew will be safe during recruit training, and she worried that he will get in trouble because she sent him a care package.
Shortly afterward, she also tweeted to the U.S. Postal Service that she wanted to stop shipment on a package she sent. It was not immediately clear whether she was referring to the care package.
The service responded with five tweets beginning shortly after 10 p.m.
“We appreciate and understand your concerns and thank you for sharing them directly with us,” the Marine Corps tweeted. “Rest assured, the recent circumstances regarding recruit training in the media are not indicative of the manner we transform young men & women into Marines. We are actively engaged in ensuring everyone with a loved one or family member working hard to earn the title Marine is assured and informed. We remain committed to your nephew’s success, and when he’s earned the title Marine he’ll be proud and so will we! See you at his graduation.”
Attention on the scandal increased last week after several newspapers, including The Washington Post, published interviews with a Marine veteran who reported his platoon’s experience late last year after he faced suicidal thoughts and depression and refused to continue training. Former Pvt. Thomas Jacob Weaver said that he was hazed the entire three months he was at Parris Island and that he was there the night a Muslim recruit was called a terrorist and put in a dryer.
Other followers weighed in after seeing Silverman’s tweets. Some attempted to reassure her that her nephew will be safe, while others suggested that her speaking up may make him a target.
Members of Congress also have taken interest in the cases. At least two members of the House have made recent visits to Parris Island and two officials with knowledge of House Armed Services Committee deliberations said there are active discussions about whether it is appropriate to have hearings to examine what has occurred and when. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue and concerns that being named could jeopardize any criminal prosecutions.
“The challenge that these kinds of situations present to us is that it’s difficult for the witnesses to give us anything helpful while the criminal prosecutions are ongoing,” one official said. “Once you can have a hearing that is productive, that’s where you consider having one.”
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