Staff Sgt. from Virginia and Pfc. from Illinois killed after IED explosion in Afghanistan

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WDBJ7)-- Two troops were killed Saturday while conducting combat missions in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

(Left to right) Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin and Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon (Photo: 82nd Airborne)

According to the 82nd Airborne Division's Public Affairs Officer, an IED killed Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin of Newport News and Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, of Joliet, Illinois. Both were a part of Company B, 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

Staff Sgt. McLaughlin joined the Army in 2012, and was working his first combat deployment. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

Pfc. Villalon joined the Army in 2018, and was also on his first combat deployment. His awards and decorations also include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal.

He is survived by his mother and father.

According to Col. Art Sellers, Commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, "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."

"Their loved ones are now surrounded by a caring community offering comfort and assistance through this difficult time," said Sellers.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says, “I am deeply saddened by the news that Staff Sergeant Ian P. McLaughlin, of Newport News, was killed January 11, 2020, along with Private First Class Miguel A. Villalon of Joliet, Illinois, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

“Their loss is a reminder that our men and women in uniform across the globe continue to do dangerous work in pursuit of peace.

“Pam and I send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of these men, as well as to their fellow soldiers.

“I know I speak on behalf of all Virginians when I say that we are deeply grateful for their service and indebted to them for their sacrifice.”

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