The four men were assigned to the 120th Combined Arms Battalion in Wilmington. They were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle in Baghdad on Monday.
The men are identified as 39-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Edward C. Kramer of Wilmington, 36-year-old Sgt. Roger L. Adams Jr. of Jacksonville, 30-year-old Sgt. Juan C. Baldeosingh of Newport and 39-year-old Spc. Robert L. Bittiker of Jacksonville.
The deaths bring the total number of North Carolina National Guard soldiers killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001to 15.
North Carolina National Guard commander Maj. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr. said "the people of our state mourn today with the families of these fine soldiers."
The family of Sgt. Baldeosingh describe him as a funny, kind, thoughtful, and a family-oriented man who loved to watch his three daughters dance and make arts and crafts with them.
After graduating high school from Holy Trinity Catholic School in Hicksville, N.Y., his military career started in the United States Marine Corps as a Fire Direction Controlman. While stationed at Camp Lejeune, he met his wife Rebecca.
Baldeosingh left the Marine Corps to become a Sergeant of Security at the Carteret General Hospital where he also assisted as a Spanish translator. His desire to serve his country continued while working at the hospital, so he walked across the street to the Morehead City Armory and joined the North Carolina National Guard.
"Carlos was my best friend, my husband, and father to our three girls. He is truly an American Hero. I am so proud of him for fighting for our country. He did what he wanted to do, and that was to be in the military. I loved him so very much. I will miss him terribly. He will forever be in my heart!" said Mrs. Baldeosingh.
The Baldeosingh family now is in the process of retrieving Juan Carlos' body and making funeral arrangements, right now planned for Arlington National Cemetery.
Sources say this was Bittiker's third deployment and second time in Iraq, no funeral arrangements have been made at this time.
Kramer’s funeral arrangements have not been announced, but at least one other memorial has been planned in his honor. Tom Russell, founder of Step up for Soldiers, is organizing a memorial walk at 6 p.m. Sunday. The walk will begin at the Wilmington Fire Department headquarters and Market Street, and end at the memorial at the National Guard Armory on North Kerr Avenue.
Information for Adams was not available.