McLaughlin and Villalon

submitted photo

Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday ordered all United States and North Carolina flags at state facilities to be lowered immediately to half-staff in honor of Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin of Virginia and Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon of Illinois, who lost their lives while conducting combat operations Saturday in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

McLaughlin and Villalon were paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division based in Fort Bragg.

McLaughlin, who joined the Army in 2012 and served as a squad leader, is survived by his wife and four children.

Villalon, who joined the Army in 2018 as a combat engineer and was on his first deployment, is survived by his mother and father.

Flags are to remain at halfstaff through sunset Sunday, Jan. 19.

Cooper issued this statement:

“Our hearts are heavy with the loss of two brave paratroopers in Afghanistan. To honor their memories, I order the flags to half-staff.”

As a show of respect, individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the duration of time indicated, the governor’s office said.

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