Twenty-one year old Robbie Mariano of Stockton was among four soldiers killed in the blast, which occurred near the city of Najaf.
An acquaintance of the family says Mariano joined the Army after graduating from Stagg High School in Stockton in 2003. Once his tour was up in 2008, Mariano's planned to use the G.I. Bill to go to college.
Carolyn Moore, a teacher at Stagg, remembers when Mariano, who played the guitar, formed a band with twin brothers.
"They used to go to the twins' house for rehearsals and they'd come to school to tell me how well they had done, and what a great guitarist he was. I mean just a cute kid."
PFC Mariano is survived by his father Bob, a veteran officer with the Stockton Police Department, his mother Debbie and a brother, Bobby, who attends University of the Pacific.
Funeral services are pending.