Marine drowning victim identified, called 'exemplary recruit'

achristnovich@islandpacket.comSeptember 8, 2012 

Jonathon A. Crawford of Clermont County, Ohio, was identified late Saturday as the Marine who drown off Hunting Island State Park on Friday afternoon.

Crawford, 19, graduated from boot camp only hours earlier. He was one of 526 Marines who graduated that day.

He was an exemplary recruit, according to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island spokeswoman Lt. Melanie Salinas.

He graduated from Kilo Company and was automatically promoted to private first class, meaning he "demonstrated and possessed the training and professionalism" to be promoted while other members of the class graduated as privates, Salinas said Saturday night.

Crawford's drill instructors described him as an "absolute pleasure to train," and someone who "gave 100 percent effort all time," according to Battalion Commander Lt. Col. James Shelton.

"Drill instructors looked forward to coming to work to train someone like him," Salinas said.

Crawford's family stayed at the depot Friday night as guests of the commanding officers, Salinas said. When they left to return to Ohio Saturday morning, about 600 recruits lined the street leading from the base to offer condolences and respect, she said.

An autopsy showed the cause of death was drowning, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen confirmed Saturday. While Allen said there were no signs alcohol or other factors in the incident, it will take four to six weeks for a toxicology report to completed.

The 19-year-old was swimming about 40 yards off the shore around 4:45 p.m. Friday when relatives lost sight of him and called 911. His body was recovered about 45 minutes later.

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich at

Related content:

Marine graduate drowns off Hunting Island State Park, Sept. 7, 2012

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