On April 8, 1956, drill instructor Matthew McKeon led Platoon 71 on a forced night march through the backwaters of the Parris Island recruit depot in an effort to restore flagging discipline. An unexpected and extraordinarily strong tidal current in Ribbon Creek swept over the recruits, and in the panic that followed six men drowned. This book is the story of that night, the recruits of Platoon 71, and especially Staff Sergeant McKeon and his court-martial.
The author, a former marine and an experienced trial lawyer and judge, spells out in detail for the first time the strategies and tactics of the prosecution and the defense, while maintaining a sharp focus on the human side of the tragedy. Based on exhaustive research and interviews with the participants, including McKeon, his book presents an account of the incident from a wide range of perspectives.