Nick grew up in a small town, Moses Lake, WA. He dreamed of playing baseball in college, but was only offered a partial scholarship. Because he did not want to accrue tremendous debt with student loans, Nick followed his friends’ advice and spoke to a USMC recruiter. In September 2008, shortly after high school, Nick joined the United States Marine Corps and started boot camp in San Diego, CA.
After graduating MCES (Marine Corps Engineer School) in May 2009, Nick received orders to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) in Okinawa, Japan. In May 2010, he and his company were sent over to Combat Logistics Battalion 3 deployed to southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Upon arrival, Nick’s platoon gave direct support to 2nd Battalion 1st Marines. When this deployment ended, he was sent straight back to 9th ESB and volunteered for their deployment to Afghanistan. On November 11th, 2011, Nick returned to Afghanistan.
On December 1, 2011, Sgt. Nick Kimmel and his squad were constructing a guard post for the patrol base near Sangin, Afghanistan. Nick stood on the forks of the machinery to ensure the roof was square on the guard post. He then jumped down and landed directly on a forty pound I.E.D. This blast resulted in the amputation of both legs above the knees and his right arm above the elbow. After jumping down, the next thing Nick remembered was waking up on December 4th in Bethesda, MD at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with just his left arm remaining.
During the entire month of December, Nick underwent surgery every other day. On January 1, 2012, he left Walter Reed to go to the Navy Medical Center in San Diego to continue his outpatient treatment and physical therapy. Nick was told it would take about 13-15 months to walk with prosthetics- he did it in seven months.
Although Nick only has one limb left, he still enjoys his old hobbies including rock crawling, racing trucks and golfing. He also intends to earn a degree in mechanical engineering to be used towards a career in research and development with a vehicle off-road or a prosthetics company. Sgt. Nick Kimmel advises others, “it’s something that happens and you can’t look back…it is what it is – you can’t change it, you can only move forward … You can’t let anything stop you if you want to do something, you must strive to do it.”
By donating to The Wounded Marine Fund, you will help support heroes like Sgt. Nick Kimmel, USMC, Ret.