TWENTYNINE PALMS — The Marine Corps has released more information about the 21-year-old Marine killed in a fire during a training exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Monday morning.
Cpl. Nicholas James Sell was killed about 11:20 a.m. when the amphibious assault vehicle he was inside caught fire, the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton announced Wednesday morning.
Previous reports from civilian responders incorrectly called the vehicle a tank.
Sell, a member of 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, was taking part in a battalion assault course in support of an integrated training exercise when his amphibious assault vehicle caught fire, according to 1st Marine Division Public Affairs.
A native of Eagle Point, Ore., Sell enlisted in the Marine Corps May 3, 2010. He had deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Marine Corps confirmed.
His awards included the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Four other Marines were hurt in the fire and required emergency medical care.
According to Camp Pendleton, one of the four injured Marines was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he was in stable condition Tuesday. The other three were treated and released from the Naval hospital aboard the combat center.
Their unit was training in the Bullion/Lead Mountain area, Capt. Justin Smith, spokesman for the combat center, said.
Sell’s death left his family grieving and looking to their faith.
“We are really struggling with how he died,” Becky Sell Carreon Brennan, Sell’s aunt, posted on the Hi-Desert Star Facebook page. “We have six other young men, all his cousins, who have served or are serving, and my siblings and I always dreaded that knock on the door.”
The Marine’s family is hanging on to its faith in God. “We are believers and we trust God, we believe in his sovereignty and we’ll hang onto him through the pain,” Becky Brennan said.
His aunt said Sell was an Eagle Scout. “That pretty much sums him up,” Brennan wrote. “He was just a kid who grew up in southern Oregon, enjoying life with his parents, older brother and half-brother, many, many friends, and he was just starting to figure out life.”