QUANTICO, Va. --
Wounded Warrior Regiment officials renamed their call center in honor of Sgt. Merlin German, a Marine who died from wounds sustained in Iraq.
Marines, family members, friends and caregivers gathered in the call center’s conference room to remember German as a Marine, son, brother and friend during an unveiling ceremony of the “Sergeant Merlin German Wounded Warrior Call Center” in Dumfries, Va., Dec.4.
“It was such an emotional moment,” said Lourdes, German’s mother.
Lt. Gen. Ronald Coleman, deputy commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and the German family unveiled the “Sergeant Merlin German” plaque engraved with German’s image, which now hangs in the main entrance to the call center. The German family also received a miniature replica of the plaque.
The purpose of the ceremony was to “celebrate Sgt. German’s life and pay tribute to his sacrifices” said Col. Gregory Boyle, Wounded Warrior Regiment’s commanding officer. “It is appropriate that we dedicate the Wounded Warrior Regiment’s call center in Sgt. German’s honor.”
German enlisted in September 2003, something he told his family he wanted to do from a young very age. In April 2004, the Manhattan, N.Y., native and artillery cannoneer, reported to his first duty station at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“Merlin used to get books about guns because he wanted to know what they could do for him when he became a Marine,” said Ariel, German’s brother.
In September 2004, he deployed to Iraq with Weapons Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, providing convoy security. German was severely wounded by an improvised explosive device during combat operations Feb. 21, 2005. Although severely burned over 97 percent of his body and only given a three percent chance of survival, German spent more than three years in recovery. He died of surgical complications April 11, 2008, at the age of 22.
Doctors dubbed German the “Miracle Man,” because few people in the world ever survive burns of that magnitude. His determination even drew the interest of President Bush, actor Chuck Norris and other leaders who met him.
“His positive attitude and outright refusal to let his injuries affect his soul and how he lived were an inspiration to everyone who came in contact with him,” Boyle said.
The call center began operations in December 2007 and has a 24-7 capability. More than 35,000 calls were handled in the first year. The call center’s mission is to enable the Marine Corps to extend support to Marines through a variety of services to include advocacy, resource identification and referral, information distribution and care coordination for wounded, ill, or injured Marines and their family members. The call center’s toll-free number is 1-877-487-6299.
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment call (703) 432-1845 or visit www.woundedwarriorregiment.org