Kenosha, Wisconsin, US
United States Marine Corps
PVT, 19 Platoon 1143, Company C,. 1st Recruit Training Battalion
San Diego, US, 12/13/2002
A 19-year-old Marine recruit died Thursday after survival training at a base swimming pool, officials at Marine Corps Recruit Depot said yesterday.
Private Samuel J. Bruss of Kenosha, Wisconsin is the second San Diego-based recruit to die after training since late last month. He had exited the pool and reported chest pains to a nearby medical corpsman just before 2:30 p.m. Despite emergency care on the base and at UCSD Medical Center, Bruss died at 3:45 p.m. A Marine official said there is no indication yet as to the cause of death.
Bruss had no known health problems and was an avid outdoorsman, said his uncle, Jim Jansen, in Wisconsin.
“He was extremely active, not so much with traditional sports of football and basketball, but all-terrain sports and volleyball,” Jansen said. “That’s part of the reason for the (family’s) shock. . . . Everyone’s reaching out for answers.”
Bruss was in the third phase of water-survival classes, during which Marines learn to float while weighted down with gear. They start dressed in camouflage fatigues and add packs, boots, weapons and helmets as the training progresses, said 1st Lt. Mike Friel of the recruit depot. The training is conducted in an Olympic-size swimming pool heated to about 80 degrees, he said.
Jansen said his nephew was a good swimmer and that his parents have an outdoor pool at their home. Bruss is survived by his parents, two sisters and an older brother who is a Marine serving in Bahrain. A base official said Bruss was a promising Marine.
“I can tell you that recruit Bruss was doing well in his training,” said Lt. Col. William Walsh, recruit regiment executive officer. “He worked hard, was dedicated and would have made a fine U.S. Marine.”