GOLDSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina National Guard soldier who left for Iraq just weeks ago was killed Saturday in a blast in Iraq.
Spc. Jocelyn Carrasquillo became the first casualty from North Carolina's latest Guard deployment with the 30th Heavy Brigade.
Carrasquillo, 28, of Wrightsville Beach, died when a bomb exploded next to his convoy vehicle.
A unit supply specialist, Carrasquillo was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry headquartered in Wilmington, according to the N.C. National Guard.
Just three days before his trip to Baghdad, Carrasquillo called his roommate, Chad Clark, from Kuwait.
"Calling him a hero is almost an understatement. He's just such an awesome guy," Clark said.
Clark joined Carrasquillo's two older brothers at the family's church Monday night.
"We're just proud he served his country. He's done his part. My family's done its part," Luis Carrasquillo said.
Luis Carrasquillo says Jocelyn, and his twin brother Ronnie -- who is with the Army Reserve -- were both in Baghdad on Friday. Ronnie Carrasquillo had been in Iraq for a year and is on his way home.
When asked what they will miss the most about Spc. Carrasquillo, friends and family remember his positive outlook on life, even in the face of death.
"Anytime I was down, he was always there to pick me up. I tell him now, it is going to be all right because he is in a better place," Luis Carrasquillo said.