Jose Rodriguez photo

Jose Rodriguez, 18.

An 18-year-old Marine Corps hopeful died last week after suffering a medical emergency during a physical test at a recruiting station in Frederick, a corps spokesman confirmed.

Jose Rodriguez, who enlisted to become an aviation mechanic through the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program on March 25, was taking part in an initial strength test at the recruiting station in the 500 block of Pegasus Court on Aug. 21, said Lt. William H. Tunney, a spokesman for the 4th Marine Corps District.

Rodriguez had just completed the three-part test, which requires participants to do a maximum number of pullups in a designated time, followed by situps and ending with a 1½-mile run, when the medical emergency occurred, the lieutenant said.

“EMS had to respond to the recruiting station for a medical emergency, they then transported Mr. Rodriguez to the Frederick Memorial Hospital and he then, unfortunately, two days later, passed on the morning of Friday the 23rd while he was at the hospital,” Tunney said.

Because the circumstances of Rodriguez’s death were still being investigated as of Thursday, Tunney was not at liberty to discuss further details regarding either the medical emergency or the response, including any action taken by Marine Corps personnel at the recruiting station.

“However, I will say that our Marines take every safety precaution when it comes to any kind of physical test of poolees,” Tunney said, using the term used by Marines to refer to those who have enlisted in the corps but have yet to attend basic training.

A Montgomery County resident, Rodriguez enlisted at the Marine Crops’ recruiting station in Rockville, but was being tested at the Frederick recruiting station ahead of reporting for basic training next month in Parris Island, South Carolina, according to Tunney.

About 70 Marines work out of the Frederick training station — one of 48 such facilities maintained by the Marine Corps nationwide — where as many as 500 poolees from Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia receive instruction and undergo testing at any given time, Tunney said.

“We’re deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Rodriguez and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” Tunney said.

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime.

Jeremy Arias is the Frederick city and government reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(5) comments


very sad


Oh his poor family. God bless.


This must be something new because it definitely wasn't done years ago. Even during boot camp there was no requirement. Sure, you had physical training, done pull ups etc. But there was no requirement that I can recall. What might have been worse is the personal requirements, such as running at port arms around the platoon as they marched. Why do that? Because someone made a wrong move to a marching order and you found it funny. Of course, you could do almost anything and get extra penalties. Not that it mattered much after your physical condition improved. There just wasn't an initial requirement. Those that could not meet requirements in basic were discharged.


I feel very sorry for the young man and his family. There might have been some underlying physical condition. I would have thought that he would have had a physical exam when he first applied to become a marine before he took the physical test. Back in 1962 the Army had a physical test that had to be passed to go from basic ROTC to advanced. It involved pushups, pullups, situps, broad jump, and a 2 mile run which had to be completed in 16 minutes which I considered a medium jog. I think I completed the run in about 12 minutes. My son had a similar physical test to enter the Air Force Academy in 1993. I told him not to take it lightly and he had better train for it several months ahead. He was pretty weak on pull ups and push ups. Even with several months of training he barely passed the pull ups and push ups. Once he arrived at the Academy he had to take the physical test again, and he barely passed again. After that he devoted himself to staying in good shape. His name is on the wall in several Air Force gyms having set the al ltime record for achievement in the annual physical testing.


DickD, not sure if you are a Marine Corps veteran or not, but there is a minimum requirement to pass the physical fitness portion of recruit training. The Marines have always and will always have a requirement to pass in boot camp. The Marine Corps encourages poolees to attend training sessions to prepare for what lies ahead. I'm thinking the line in your comment about running around the platoon is too much based on watching movies. As a no longer active duty Marine this practice was never done to me or anyone in my platoon at boot camp, nor did I ever do this to anyone under my charge. Are there bad leaders that push the envelope? All the time, and they are dealt with, especially in todays age of micro management in recruit training.

The only reason I write this is, until we know exactly what caused this please do not place blame on the recruiters or the Marine Corps in whole.

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