Soldier from Newport News killed in Afghanistan

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Department of Defense announced Sunday that a Soldier from Newport News was one of two men killed while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, was a Newport News resident assigned to the 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The second soldier, 21-year-old Joliet, Illinois resident Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, was also assigned to Fort Bragg.

Both soldiers were killed in action Saturday when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

The soldiers were conducting operations as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

According to a release by the 82nd Airborne Division, McLaughlin joined the Army in 2012. After completing basic combat training and advanced individual training, he was assigned to the 68th Engineer Company, 62nd Engineer Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas as a horizontal construction engineer.

In 2016, he was assigned to the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N. C., where he served as a horizontal construction engineer and later as a squad leader.

His awards include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal, the 82nd Airborne Division said. McLaughlin is survived by his wife and four children.

This was both soldiers’ first combat deployment.

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