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Private First Class Dalton Beals, 19, died during a basic training exercise at Parris Island in South Carolina on June 4. He was just two weeks away from officially becoming a Marine.
Private First Class Dalton Beals, 19, died during a basic training exercise at Parris Island in South Carolina on June 4. He was just two weeks away from officially becoming a Marine. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Trenton, N.J. (Tribune News Service) — Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday said the Marine from New Jersey killed in a training exercise last week “was made of the stuff of which all great Marines are made.”

Pfc. Dalton Beals, 19, of Pennsville died Friday in Parris Island, South Carolina, two weeks before he was scheduled to graduate, the Marines said.

Murphy opened his coronavirus press conference in Trenton by speaking briefly about Beals, who played football, wrestled and was on the track and field team at Pennsville Memorial High School before graduating in 2020.

“I know he would have served with distinction, honor and bravery,” Murphy said. “If you look at the quotes from his family, from coaches, from teachers, it’s overwhelming and it’s an awful tragedy.”

Beals was completing The Crucible, a grueling 54-hour training session to finish his training, the base said in a statement Monday. The 48-mile exercise involved carrying heavy equipment in which participants are only allowed limited food and sleep.

In a brief message to NJ Advance Media, one of Beals’ two older sisters — Jordan Beals — wrote: “I would be honored to talk about my brother. He truly was the best of us. I could talk about Dalton forever.”

Flags outside state buildings are being flown at half-staff on Wednesday

The cause of Beals’ death is under investigation.

Funeral arrangements for Beals haven’t been disclosed.

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