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There is a marker behind Sam’s Club. Who is it for?

Merton Vance

Employees of the Sam's Club store off College Road placed this monument behind the store in memory of Jocelyn "Joce" Carrasquillo, an employee who was killed in Iraq in 2004 while serving in the National Guard.

The marker is a memorial to Army Spc. Jocelyn “Joce” Carrasquillo, a Sam’s Club employee who was killed in Iraq while serving in the National Guard.

Fellow workers at Sam’s Club placed the marker behind the store, along the banks of a retention pond, in his memory.

Carrasquillo lived at Wrightsville Beach and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry  of the North Carolina National Guard.

He was killed on March 13, 2004 by a roadside bomb near Baghdad, becoming the first casualty of his unit during the war. He was 28. He is buried in Goldsboro, his hometown.

Carrasquillo joined the National Guard to help earn money to continue his education. He had been in Iraq for about three weeks when he was killed.

He had three brothers, including a twin, Ronald, an Army reservist who hailed his “most wonderful brother” as a hero at Joce’s funeral. He promised to take care of their mother, Isabel, with whom his brother had an especially close relationship.

Thomas M. Ruyle, a former StarNews copy editor who served in  Iraq, recalled Jocelyn Carrasquillo as one of the most well-liked men in the battalion.

Ron Carrasquillo had been in Iraq for about 11 months when he spoke to his twin brother before Joce left for Iraq.

“I told him basically everything is safe and that the only thing out there really is (improvised explosive devices),” Ron recalled in a November 2004 interview with StarNews reporter Patrick Gannon, who traveled to Iraq that year with the National Guard unit from Southeastern North Carolina.

In a news story at the time of his death, friends recalled Carrasquillo as a joker and a dancer who was known for his upbeat attitude.

“The world could be falling apart and he’d find something positive about it,” said Chad Clark, a roommate of Carrasquillo, in a 2004 interview.

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2 Responses to “ There is a marker behind Sam’s Club. Who is it for?”

  1. On March 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm Franklin Oldham wrote:

    March 13th 2004 was the day my commander and his driver were killed by an IED in Tikrit Iraq.

  2. On March 4, 2010 at 7:02 am Judith Gunby wrote:

    I was manager of the area that Jose worked in at SAM’S CLUB. I still have the coffee mug he brought for me when he visited Puerto Rico. He was not only a good employee, he was a dear friend. I still miss his wit and his smile.

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