BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — Three Marine recruits have died on Parris Island in the last 18 months.

The latest has led to criminal charges against one of the people whose job is to train Marines and get them ready for combat.

Dalton Beals’ mom, Stacie, wanted him to go to college not the Marines. But she loved him and supported his dream just the same, right up until his death.

Beals was just 19 years old going through “the Crucible”, a grueling training exercise near the end of his time at Parris Island.

He suffered hyperthermia, an abnormally high body temperature. He wandered off from his platoon and wasn’t found for more than an hour when it was too late.

Now his drill instructor Staff Sgt. Steven Smiley is now facing six different charges including negligent homicide.

A Marine report said that while Smiley was qualified to serve as a drill instructor, he “didn’t have the maturity, temperament, or leadership skills to be effective.”

The report calls Private Beals’ death “likely avoidable” adding that Smiley didn’t take into account the extreme weather conditions during training.

“It’s been a long time waiting and still a long road ahead,” Stacie Beals told News 3. “Hoping justice is served not only for Dalton. My mission is for a change to be made in the military.”

“Our servicemen need to stop dying due to our own military negligence and malpractice. They deserve better.”

Dalton was the third recruit to die on Parris Island in the last 18 months.

Pvt. Anthony Munoz died of an apparent suicide back in September 2021. Private First Class Brandon Barnish died just three weeks later.

There are ongoing investigations into those deaths.

“There is command and control, there is oversight of these recruits,” said Craig Drummond, a Veteran and Criminal defense attorney. “There is oversight to protect those recruits and to protect those drill instructors and leaders. If we aren’t going to have those controls in place. no one is protected.”

“The safeguards, the policies, procedures are all unique to military training,” continued Drummond. “I wouldn’t see any issues with the marine corps and the navy prosecuting and investigating this case.”

Craig Drummond is a criminal defense attorney and a veteran himself.

While not directly involved in this case, he has seen others like this before. He believes filing charges against the drill instructor is a step in the right direction.

“I can only hope there are positive things found here. Other incidents similar to this are being avoided because the command is taking this type of approach,” said Drummond. “Whether we have the correct individuals being held accountable will be determined down the line.”

The question is, where does that accountability start and end?

It was just 2018 when Lt Colonel Joshua Kissoon pleaded guilty to charges of dereliction of duty, making false official statements and conduct unbecoming an officer.

Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix was found guilty of hazing and abusing recruits. all in connection to recruit Raheel Siddiqui’s death.

Siddiqui died after jumping off a three-story structure on base. His suicide an investigation showed was the result of hazing and abuse from the staff toward recruits. Felix allegedly slapped Siddiqui just before his death

Since then the base is under different command, and possibly looking to change the culture.

Brigadier General Walker Field himself decided to charge Sgt. Smiley with negligent homicide.

“That tells me we don’t have a rubber stamp leader,” said Drummond. “Something comes in front of himself or herself and just signs it. They say hey that is not right away. I think it shows they have actually read it.”

Smiley is facing six charges in front of the military’s highest court martial court.

He could face three years on the negligent homicide charge alone.

Barnish and Munoz’s deaths are still under investigation.

News 3 has asked for an update from Parris Island on both those cases.