GILLETTE, Wyo. — A Marine from Gillette who was critically injured during a training exercise in California has undergone painful skin grafts, lost 30 pounds and was on a ventilator to treat scorched lungs — but is determined to return to duty once he fully recovers.
The Gillette News Record reported Wednesday that Tagen Schmidt is up and walking and has been weaned off the ventilator.
Fourteen Marines and one Navy sailor were hospitalized — three critically — after their amphibious vehicle caught fire during a training exercise at a military base. The vehicle struck a natural gas line.
Schmidt remains in the burn center at the University of California San Diego Hillcrest Hospital.
On Sunday, he was surprised by his platoon and was promoted to lance corporal.