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WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) – Wheaton North High School has been mourning the loss of a recent graduate, who died a month after he was wounded while serving in Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Spc. Samuel T. Watts died Saturday, after a month-long fight to survive at Walter Reed Medical Center. He was 20 years old.
He was wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Zharay, Afghanistan, on April 25. A local veteran support group said the explosion that ultimately claimed Watts’ life also killed another serviceman instantly, and injured a handful of others.
Watts had been assigned to a combat brigade team with the 82nd Airborne Division based out of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
He graduated from Wheaton North in 2010. The flags in front of the school were being flown at half-staff in his honor.
His former high school counselor said Watts talked about joining the Army ever since he was a freshman in high school. She said Watts always knew he wanted to help others, and often did that at the school.
Counselors at the school have been helping Watts’ sister who is a sophomore here and other students and faculty who knew him cope with his death.
Watts’ family was asking for privacy on Tuesday, and his funeral arraignments were still being finalized.
Meantime, the school was planning to hold a moment of silence on Friday to honor him, and others who have died in wars, as part of their Memorial Day tribute.