Two paratroopers killed in Afghanistan ‘represent the very best of our nation and our Army’

Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon and Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin were killed on Jan. 11 in Kandahar Province. (Photos courtesy of the 82nd Airborne Division)

The Pentagon has identified two paratroopers killed in Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin and Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, both of whom were assigned to the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, defense officials announced on Sunday.

McLaughlin, 29, and, Villalon, 21, died on Jan. 11 after their vehicle that was hit by a roadside bomb in Kandahar Province, a Defense Department news release says. The incident is under investigation.

"These paratroopers represent the very best of our nation and our Army," Maj. Gen. James Mingus, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, said in a division news release. "Three time volunteers, they went when our nation called and paid the ultimate sacrifice. They will be honored, mourned, but never forgotten and we are committed to taking care of their families for life."

McLaughlin is survived by wife and four children. He joined the Army in 2012 and graduated the U.S. Army Advanced Airborne Jumpmaster Course in 2018. This was his first combat deployment.

Villalon was also on his first combat deployment. He joined the Army in 2018 and he is survived by his parents.

Both paratroopers have been awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, and other military decorations.

"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," their brigade commander Col. Art Sellers said in the news release. "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."

Roughly a dozen U.S. troops showing concussion-related symptoms are being medically evacuated from Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, a defense official told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.

Read More

In a Galaxy — err, I mean, on a military base far, far away, soldiers are standing in solidarity with galactic freedom fighters.

Sitting at the top of an Army press release from March 2019, regarding the East Africa Response Force's deployment to Gabon, the photo seems, at first glance, just like any other: Soldiers on the move.

But if you look closer at the top right, you'll find something spectacular: A Rebel Alliance flag.

Read More
The maiden flight of the first CMV-22B Osprey took place in Amarillo, Texas (Courtesy photo)

The first of the CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft the Navy plans on adopting as its carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft of choice has successfully completed its first flight operations, manufacturer Boeing announced on Tuesday.

Read More
A soldier plugs his ears during a live fire mission at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Capt. Leslie Reed/U.S. Army

Another 300 lawsuits against 3M flooded federal courts this month as more military veterans accuse the behemoth manufacturer of knowingly making defective earplugs that caused vets to lose hearing during combat in Iraq or Afghanistan or while training on U.S. military bases.

On another front, 3M also is fighting lawsuits related to a class of chemicals known as PFAS, with the state of Michigan filing a lawsuit last week against the Maplewood-based company.

To date, nearly 2,000 U.S. veterans from Minnesota to California and Texas have filed more than 1,000 lawsuits.

Read More

GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday it was no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States' failure to meet a year-end deadline for nuclear talks and "brutal and inhumane" U.S. sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set an end-December deadline for denuclearization talks with the United States and White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said at the time the United States had opened channels of communication.

O'Brien said then he hoped Kim would follow through on denuclearization commitments he made at summits with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Read More