This book describes the history of a tragic event in USMC history and of how its impact led to reforms. In 1956 a Marine drill instructor led his recruit platoon on a punitive night march across Ribbon Creek, a tidal stream at the Parris Island, South Carolina, recruit depot. Six men drowned, and the resulting court-martial became a national media sensation putting the future of the corps into question. Written by a senior historian at the Marine Corps Historical Center, The U.S. Marine Corps in Crisis explores the social, political, and historical context of this tragic moment in U.S. military history as a case study in how bureaucratic institutions undertake internal reform and offering a valuable vantage point on tensions in American society during the 1950s.
Keith Fleming holds a Ph.D. in American military history from Ohio State University. He is a retired U.S. Marine officer who commanded a rifle platoon in the U.S. intervention in the Domincan Republic in 1965 and the following year assumed command of a rifle company in the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam.