Jacksonville Readiness Center renamed after guardsman killed in Iraq

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Dozens of community members came out to the NC National Guard Jacksonville Readiness Center Friday to take part in a very special ceremony that paid tribute to one of their own fallen soldiers.

At just 20 years old, Specialist Daniel Desens, Jr. was killed in Iraq.

He and another member of the 120th Infantry Regiment of the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team were ambushed by insurgents with RPGs and small arms fire.

Desens was fatally injured and died on June 24, 2004.

Nearly 14 years later, the Readiness Center was renamed in his honor.

Dozens of community members came out to the ceremony, including members of Desens' unit.

Officials with the National Guard say they are renaming all of their Readiness Centers in honor of their fallen guardsmen and hope it will be a reminder for the community of the sacrifice that was made.

"When they drive by and see an armory that's named after them, ask what's the story behind the name that's on the armory there, or the sign as you drive by the armory, and what caused that armory to be named after that soldier, and I think a soldier and a story of valor and sacrifice which is worth knowing about," says Col. Wes Morrison.

The Spc. Daniel Desens Readiness Center is in Jacksonville on Broadhurst Road.

Desens' family was there for the ceremony and they say it was very humbling and honoring to be a part of. They are glad their son's legacy will live on forever.