CBS NEWSPATH — The Patriot Guard was part of a large group that welcomed home the remains of a U.S. Army paratrooper who died in Afghanistan. His remains arrived back in Fort Bragg on Saturday.
Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Va., was killed on January 11th by a improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Ill., was also killed in the same incident.
The plane carrying McLaughlin’s casket landed at Fort Bragg’s Pope Army Airfield. After his casket was removed from the plane McLaughlin’s wife Tara touched two fingers to her lips then pressed her fingers to the flag draped coffin.
Hundreds of paratroopers lined the roadway as the motorcade left the post. The motorcade was escorted to Lafayette Funeral Home in Fayetteville by more than 50 motorcycles and about 65 members of the North Carolina Patriot Guard Riders.
McLaughlin and Pfc. Villalon were assigned to the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. They were conducting combat operations when they were killed.
McLaughlin joined the army in 2012, served as a construction engineer and squad leader. His deployment to Afghanistan was his first combat deployment.