An Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) similar to the vehicle involved in the Camp Pendleton Accident
(Gillette, Wyo.) Just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, 15 marines from 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion were conducting a scheduled combat readiness evaluation. Whilst carrying out their land-based battalion training, their vehicle, an Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV), caught fire injuring it’s passengers. All of the Marines were saved from the vehicle and immediately transported to health emergency services as needed.
In updating the status of the incident, a statement from the 1st Marine Division Public Affairs informed the public that eight Marines were evacuated and taken to the Burn Center at the University of California San Diego Health. Four of the Marines were transported to the University Of California Irvine Medical Center, one Marine in stable condition was taken to the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, and two Marines were taken to the Naval Hospital in Camp Pendleton with minor injuries. Of the eight Marines taken to the Burn Center at University of California San Diego Health, three Marines were in critical condition and five of them remained in serious condition. Out of the four Marines that were transported to the University of California Irvine Medical Center, two were in critical condition while the other two were being treated for unknown conditions.
The official cause of the fire at Camp Pendleton is not yet confirmed. However, Lucas Tomlinson, writer for Fox News, wrote in an update today that, “officials first thought the engine might have overheated and somehow caused a fire onboard. Now they believe when the vehicle left a main road during a large field exercise, it ran over an underground gas pipeline, rupturing the line and somehow starting a fire onboard which turned the vehicle into a death trap.”
One of the Marines injured is a 19-year-old from Gillette named Tagen Schmidt. He is a 2016 graduate of Campbell County High School who, shortly after completing his high school studies, enlisted to serve and protect his country as a U.S. Marine. Everyone who knows Tagen, knows that one of his biggest goals in life was to join the Marines.
To support Tagen and his family in medical and travel expenses, an account has been set up for donations at the First National Bank called “Tagen Schmidt Benefit”. Those interested in making a donation may also stop by The Range 307 Inc.