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Marine dies in swimming pool at Camp Pendleton during recon test

Jan. 16, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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A junior Marine died this week in a swimming pool at Camp Pendleton, Calif., while completing a water skills test, Marine Corps officials said this week.

Pfc. Joshua Islam, 18, of Union County N.C., was participating in an intial screening at School of Infantry-West as a precursor to the Marines’ physically demanding reconnaissance training, said Col. Sean Gibson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command. He had graduated from boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., only three months earlier, in October 2013.

He died Monday in a pool at Camp Las Pulgas, near Pendleton’s center, while undergoing a test that required him to tread water for 30 minutes.

The circumstances surrounding Islam’s death remain unclear; Gibson said the incident is under investigation.

In the wake of Islam’s death, school friends from Weddington High School in Union County voiced love for him and support for his family on Twitter. Islam was a pitcher for the school’s baseball team, the Warriors.

“All he ever wanted to do is join the marines and serve his country. ... Trained for his whole life and now he’s gone. #RIPJoshIslam ,” one friend, identified on Twitter as Daniel Calabretta, tweeted.

Brig. Gen. John Simmons, commanding general of Training Command, also expressed sadness.

“I wish to extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Private First Class Islam,” he wrote. “Our first priority is to provide his family with the support they need during this difficult time.”

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