Specialist Robert Krebs was patrolling with Daniel Ryan Varnado the day an IED killed Varnado and three other Mississippi guardsmen.
Krebs says those who knew Varnado understood why he was loved by so many.
"I was the youngest guy in the unit. Danny was a little older, but he did look out for me like I was a kid brother or something, a lot of guys did but Danny did especially. I always remember that about him," said Krebs.
Protective, loving and competitive are just some of the ways Varnado is remembered. His competitiveness served him well in life. Varnado received a baseball scholarship as starting pitcher for the University of West Alabama.
"Had he gone on to the major league; had he gone on to become a superstar baseball player which he most probably would have done; it would not have come close to what he gave America by laying down his life for all of us," said Major General Harold Cross, Adjutant General.
In honor of Varnado's ultimate sacrifice, his family, including his 4 year-old son Cannon, unveiled a bronze plaque that will adorn the Gulfport National Guard's Readiness Center.
Adjutant General Harold Cross says this center, built to withstand the strongest forces of nature, represents Varnado's strength and resolve as a guardsman.
"It's a symbol of our strength and Danny Varnado represents that strength. He gave all of his tomorrows for our todays, and we shouldn't take that for granted."
The Mississippi National Guard has plans to name readiness centers throughout the state in honor of the 20 guardsmen killed in Iraq.