FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- A New Fairfield man who was killed in combat in Afghanistan was a member of the New York Air National Guard on his second deployment since enlisting.
Staff Sgt. Todd Lobraico Jr. died Thursday of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire near Bagram Airfield, the Department of Defense announced in a statement.
Lobraico, 22, was assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh. He was a member of the 105th Security Forces Squadron, which had deployed a team to Afghanistan at the end of June. The unit is trained to secure air bases and trains and fights much like Army infantry.
He was on his second deployment since enlisting in the 105th Airlift Wing as a security forces apprentice in June 2008. He deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq, from December 2010 to June 2011.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Staff Sgt. Lobraico. His family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy. “This loss reminds us of the dangers faced by our men and women stationed overseas. We should all be grateful for their service and sacrifices to our country.”
Malloy ordered flags in Connecticut to fly at half-staff until his burial, details of which were not released.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the New Fairfield Senior Center, before the town's 9-11 memorial ceremony.
"The New York National Guard family extends our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Todd Lobraico Jr. This fine young airman had already served in a combat zone once before and knew the risks he was facing. Despite that, he did his job professionally and with courage. He will be missed by all who served with him and knew him," said Major Gen. Patrick Murphy, adjutant general of New York, in a statement.
"One of the things that Staff Sgt Todd Lobraico most certainly knew when he volunteered to deploy is that our business is a dangerous business," said Col. Timothy LaBarge, commander of the 105th Airlift Wing, in a statement.
"Todd Jr. faced that fact and still did his job every day with unblinking determination and professionalism. He is rock solid model of the American Combat Airman, and we are extraordinarily proud of him. The pride that we feel about Staff Sgt. Lobraico and his squadron mates amplifies that sorrow that we individually and collectively feel upon his passing. Todd Jr. has, and will continue to be, a shining example of heroism for all of us to look up to," LaBarge said.
Lobraico joined the 105th Airlift Wing in 2008 after graduating from New Fairfield High School. He attended the Air Force's Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, graduating in November 2008 and then entered Security Forces Apprentice School, which he finished in February 2009.
He comes from an Air National Guard Family. His father, Master Sgt. Todd Lobriaco, is a member of the 105th Security Forces Squadron and a police officer in Stamford. His mother, Major Linda Rohatsch, commands the 105th Medical Group .
Lobraico is the first member of the New York Air National Guard to die in a combat zone since Sept. 11, 2001.