Ex-Canyons student latest local Iraq casualty
Sellen, of Newhall, dies of noncombat injuries
BY JUDY O'ROURKE, Staff Writer
LA Daily News
SANTA CLARITA - A 20-year-old former College of the Canyons student died this week while serving in Iraq, California Army National Guard officials said Tuesday.
Army Guardsman Spc. Dennis L. Sellen Jr., of Newhall died Sunday of noncombat-related injuries in Umm Qasr, Iraq. Sellen was assigned to the 185th Infantry Regiment, Fresno, according to military officials.
Sellen's family, who lives in Granada Hills, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
A Blue Star banner, signifying a family member is in the military, hung in a front window. A stained-glass heart was intertwined in the cord of the banner; two pastel-colored doves signifying peace hung nearby. Decking the front porch was a small tin angel holding an American flag, the word "Liberty" inscribed on her wing.
Sellen enlisted in the Alabama National Guard in November 2003, transferring to the California National Guard in March 2006, and was serving his first tour in Iraq.
His death was not cause by hostile fire, and Sellen was the only confirmed casualty in the incident, which is being investigated, said Lt. Theresa Chrystal, a spokeswoman for the California National Guard.
Sellen attended College of the Canyons for one semester as a part-time student in spring 2006.
"It looks like he was interested in graphics, media design and computer networking," said Sue Bozman, a spokeswoman for the college. He attended high school outside of Santa Clarita.
Sellen left on June 24 for training in Camp Shelby, Miss., where many reservists train before being deployed to Iraq. Three months later Sellen left for Iraq, where he was due to remain for one year, said Lt. Theresa Chrystal, a spokeswoman for the California National Guard.
The 1st Battalion, in which Sellen served, provided support for the 16th Military Police Brigade, from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Chrystal said the unit provides convoy security throughout Iraq.
Sellen's death was the first military casualty to strike Santa Clarita since three young soldiers were killed within one month, in November 2004.
Army Pfc. Jose Ricardo Flores, 21, of Newhall died after an explosive hit his convoy in Mosul. Flores was assigned to the 25th Transportation Company, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Army Pfc. Cole W. Larsen, 19, of Canyon Country died in a vehicle accident in Baghdad. Larsen was assigned to the 272nd Military Police Company, 21st Theater Support Command, Mannheim, Germany.
Marine Lance Cpl. Richard Patrick Slocum, 19, a machine gunner in the 3rd Marine Division, died near Abu Ghraib in a crash.
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