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02-27-04, 06:34 PM
February 27, 2004

Corps identifies Marine who died during recon screening

By Gidget Fuentes
Times staff writer

Marine Corps officials have released the name of a leatherneck who died Feb. 25 while participating in the swimming portion of a reconnaissance qualification screening at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Pfc. Scott A. McVey, 21, of West Des Moines, Iowa, died while participating in the rigorous water survival training portion of the screening process in the base’s Las Pulgas training area, according to a Camp Pendleton statement.

He was assigned to Infantry Training Battalion at the School of Infantry, and had been in the Corps since Oct. 21.

McVey died at about 6 a.m., said 2nd Lt. Robert Shuford, a Pendleton spokesman. An autopsy was planned at San Diego Naval Medical Center.

“There were 28 students with his company going through the screening” at the time, Shuford said. “I don’t know how many students were in the pool at the time.”

Increasing numbers of Marines are interested in going into reconnaissance, officials have said, and recon Marines now are included as a detachment serving with U.S. Special Operations Command and take part in combat ops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Corps typically looks to the Schools of Infantry at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune, N.C., to find junior-Marine candidates for its reconnaissance battalions, which accept leathernecks through the rank of sergeant for try-outs.

The smaller Force Reconnaissance companies require more experienced Marines, with only sergeants, corporals and senior lance corporals eligible to try out for Force Recon.

Making the cut for either type of unit is tough for even the most physically fit Marines training for recon is demanding, particularly so when it comes to water survival training. Various swim-related tasks are included in the physical-endurance training of recon “indoc,” a screening process intended to evaluate a Marine’s fitness level.

The swimming portion of the screening can include swimming 500 meters, treading water for 30 minutes, retrieving a 10-pound brick from the bottom of a 12-foot-deep pool, and swimming underwater for 25 meters — tasks that can prove challenging for even experienced swimmers.




Rest In Peace