The two soldiers killed when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan were paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, the defense department announced Sunday.
The IED attack took place Saturday in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, bordering Pakistan to the south. Killed in the blast were Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia; and Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, according to a release. . .
“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 released statement. “Their loved ones are now surrounded by a caring community offering comfort and assistance through this difficult time.”
McLaughlin, who joined the Army in 2012, was assigned to his current unit in 2016. He served there first as a horizontal construction engineer and then as a squad leader, according to officials with the 82nd Airborne. His awards included the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal with “C” Device, the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters signifying subsequent awards. . .
Villalon, who joined the Army in 2018 and was assigned to his current unit the following year, was also on his first combat deployment. His awards the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with “C” Device and the Army Achievement Medal. (Read more from “Two Paratroopers Killed in Afghanistan” HERE)