Tagen Schmidt is a United States Marine. In fact, being a Marine is all he’s ever wanted to be. When the AAV he was in caught fire on September 13, he was critically injured, with burns to 100 % of his face and 15% of the rest of his body, including his hands. But Tagen refuses to give up and take a medical discharge. He swears he’s coming back to his place at Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion.
It’s been three weeks since the training accident, severely injuring many of the 15 Marines inside the vehicle. Tagen was one of three Marines who were critically injured in that accident, which occurred because the vehicle hit a natural gas line. The gas ignited, and set the AAV on fire.
For Tagen Schmidt, 19, the recovery process is just beginning. He is currently at the burn center at the University of California San Diego Hillcrest Hospital. He has gone through painful skin grafts and lost 30 pounds from his ordeal. There will be many more weeks of rehabilitation and physical therapy as soon as his fingers heal. During out patient therapy he will have to live close to the hospital. It’s a long road to get back to his Marine Corps, but get back is what he will do.
“He’s improving every day. He’s out of ICU finally. He’s still doing breathing treatments for his respiratory issues and still on antibiotics for all his infections. The burns are healing, but he’s just not able to use his hands…Basically, his new job right now is to heal and recover. Whether it’s six months or a year from now, he’ll join his group wherever they may be. He could’ve taken a medical option out, but he doesn’t plan to do that. He’s going to stay a Marine.” Tamby Clawson, Tagen’s mother
His fellow Marines gave him a special surprise on Sunday, October 1 – a promotion to Lance Corporal.
“So emotional and amazing….Tagen Schmidt got promoted to Lance Corporal…..it is rare that family is allowed to witness the pinning ceremony…..and for these Marines to come to the hospital and present him with this honor was awesome. I feel very fortunate and blessed to have been a part of it all!! So proud of this kid…..his spirit and his strength ❤??❤?” Brandy Remmick
The town of Gillette, Wyoming has raised money to support Tagen’s family being with him at the hospital during his recovery. He’s got the will to get well, and we have no doubt he will do it.