AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Specialist Joshua N. Nelson of Greenville, N.C. served in the 297th Military Intelligence Battalion.
“It represents the forefront of intelligence collection, processing, analysis and dissemination for U.S. Army Central,” said Lt. Col. Bryan C. Leclerc of the 297th Military Intelligence Battalion. “A command that currently serves at the forefront of military operations in our fight against terrorism.”
Specialist Nelson gave his life in that fight. Four years ago, his brother and sisters in arms laid him to rest. Friday, they honored him– renaming Fort Gordon’s Gym 6 the Nelson Fitness Center.
“I’m honored to be a part of the ceremony. Surprised. Grateful that it actually finally happened,” said Nelson’s mother-inl-law, Deborah Palmer. “And I’m excited about the sacrifice. Because of Josh’s sacrifice, of how his life and what he’s done…will touch others for a long time to come…through this ceremony and through the fitness center.”
As a solider, Specialst Nelson took his fitness seriously.
“The next time that I spoke to Joshua, he was on the cabbage soup diet, wearing a fitness suit designed to make the body sweat, and was running five miles a day,” said Nelson’s aunt, Kris Chinn.
Now, future generations of soldiers will be getting themselves into peak physical shape in his gym.
“Some people, if they’ve never been to war, they kind of might have a desk job. They might not feel like it’s that important–but everybody needs to stay ready, physically, and so coming here is that opportunity to do that. And he would be excited,” said Nelson’s wife, Quamisha.
His family also helps thousands in his hometown of Jacksonville, N.C. in his honor– with food pantries, back-to-school drives, and toy drives at Christmas.
“He’s just been a blessing to so many people…which is something that he would’ve loved to be able to do,” said Quamisha Nelson.
Specialist Nelson’s awards include the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, among many others. He is survived by his wife, his mother, and two siblings.
He was 22.