As an exceedingly friendly and outgoing teen with a knack for delivering sarcastic one-liners, Marine Sgt. Merlin German quickly became one of his school's most popular students.
"He was the most charismatic and personable young man we've ever had," said high school guidance counselor Joe Foy II.
German, 22, of New York City, died April 11 at Brooke Army Medical Center from wounds suffered during combat in Anbar province on Feb. 22, 2005. He was a 2003 high school graduate and was assigned to Camp Pendleton.
He was dubbed the "Miracle Man" for his determination in facing his wounds, which cost the former saxophone player his fingers and rippled his face with scars. He endured more than 40 surgeries, spent 17 months in a hospital and had to learn to walk again.
He started a charity, Merlin's Miracles, to aid child burn victims and considered college and a career.
"Sometimes I do think I can't do it," he said last year. "Then I think: Why not? I can do whatever I want. ... Nobody has ever been 97 percent dead and survived, and lived to walk."
He is survived by his parents, Lourdes and Hemery.