Camp Pendleton Marine dies during treading water test

CAMP PENDLETON - A Marine died on his first day of training at Camp Pendleton while performing a treading water test in a pool.

Pfc. Joshua Islam, 18, of Union County, N.C., died Monday, according to Col. Sean Gibson, spokesman for Camp Pendleton.

The test was scheduled to last 30 minutes. It is unknown at which point during the test Islam died. A cause of death has not yet been determined.

Col. Gibson said the "safety standards are extremely high" at Camp Pendleton and that "incredible care is taken by those in the pool."

An investigation is under way.

Islam played baseball at Weddington High School in North Carolina. He graduated last year and then set out to fulfill his dream to be a U.S. Marine. His coach, Travis Poole, remembers Islam as a resilient, loyal, passionate and quiet young man.

Poole coached Islam for four years and said the young man was always the player with the most heart.

"He wasn't going to do anything mediocre," Poole said. "He was going to do it the best he could possibly do it. That's a lesson that all the kids need to learn."

Islam helped the team win two state championships during his last years in high school. Poole said with that kind of dedication, he wasn't surprised that Islam wanted to be a Marine.

"We talked and he was excited," Poole said. "He was ready to move on to his next chapter. He graduated boot camp and now his next chapter was, as he would say, to be the best of the best."

Paige Hansen, WSOC-TV, contributed to this report.

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