Gov. Northam orders flags at half-staff Friday in honor of Newport News soldier killed in Afghanistan

Virginia News

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Friday in respect and memory of a local soldier who was killed this month in Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, and Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan Jan. 11.

The governor’s order requires all U.S. and Virginia flags be flown at half-staff on all state and local buildings and their grounds starting at sunrise Friday.

They will remain at half-staff until sunset.

Both soldiers were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

According to a news release from the 82nd Airborne Division, McLaughlin joined the Army in 2012. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with “C” Device, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Action Badge and the Basic Parachutist Badge.

McLaughlin is survived by his wife and four children.

At the time of the news of McLaughlin’s death, the governor also expressed his condolences.

“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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