FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Two Fort Bragg paratroopers were killed by an improvised explosive device Saturday in Afghanistan, WTVD reported.
According to Lt. Col. Mike Burns with the 82nd Airborne Division, Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin, of Newport News, Virginia, and Pfc. Miguel Villalon, of Joliet, Illinois, were conducting combat operations when they were killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
McLaughlin and Villalon were assigned to the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
Burns said McLaughlin joined the Army in 2012 and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in 2016. Villalon joined in 2018 and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division after basic combat training in 2019.
According to Burns, this was both men’s first combat deployment.
McLaughlin is survived by his wife and four children. He has earned numerous awards and decorations, including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Villalon has also received multiple awards and decorations, as well, including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He is survived by his mother and father.
“When our Nation called for its best Airborne Combat Engineers to deploy into harm’s way, Staff Sgt. McLaughlin and Pfc. Villalon answered without hesitation. They lived their motto, ‘Essayons,’ and embodied the values of the All American Engineer,” Col. Art Sellers, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, said in a written statement. “Their loved ones are now surrounded by a caring community offering comfort and assistance through this difficult time.”
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