Court-Martial at Parris Island

Court-Martial at Parris Island

The Ribbon Creek Incident

  • Author: Stevens, III, John C.
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • ISBN: 9781570037030
  • eISBN Pdf: 9781643364254
  • Place of publication:  South Carolina , United States
  • Year of publication: 2023
  • Year of digital publication: 2023
  • Month: June
  • Pages: 218
  • Language: English

The definitive account of a tragic episode in U.S. Marine Corps history and its aftermath

On the night of April 8, 1956, marine drill instructor Matthew McKeon led Platoon 71 on a forced march through the backwaters of Parris Island in an effort to restore flagging discipline. Unexpectedly strong currents in Ribbon Creek and an ensuing panic led to the drowning of six recruits. The tragedy of Ribbon Creek and the court-martial of Staff Sergeant McKeon became the subject of sensational national media coverage and put the future of the U.S. Marine Corps in jeopardy.

In this definitive account of the Ribbon Creek incident former marine and experienced trial lawyer and judge John C. Stevens III examines the events of that night, the men of Platoon 71, and the fate of Sergeant McKeon. Drawing on personal interviews with key participants and his own extensive courtroom experience, Stevens balances the human side of this story with insights into the court proceedings and the tactics of the prosecution and defense attorney Emile Zola Berman. The resulting narrative is a richly developed account of a horrific episode in American military history and of the complex characters at the heart of this cautionary tale.

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • Dedication
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1 Death in the Boondocks
  • 2 Time and Place
  • 3 Platoon 71
  • 4 Final Straws
  • 5 "The Whole Marine Corps Has Had It, Too"
  • 6 The Reaction
  • 7 Inquiry
  • 8 Media Feast
  • 9 The Tide Turns
  • 10 Trial Begins
  • 11 Trial Continues—Week 2
  • 12 The Defendant's Version
  • 13 Pulling Out All the Stops
  • 14 Seven Courageous Men
  • 15 Closing the Book
  • 16 Retrospect
  • Epilogue—April 8, 2006
  • Bibliography
  • Index



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