FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — The remains of a paratrooper who was killed a week ago in Afghanistan have been returned to his family in the U.S.
The family of Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin greeted his flag-draped casket at Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg on Saturday, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
The 29-year-old from Newport News, Virginia, was killed Jan. 11 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Also killed in the attack was 21-year-old Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon of Joliet, Illinois.
After McLaughlin’s widow was given a moment to say goodbye, hundreds of other paratroopers lined the roadway to salute as the hearse was escorted away.
More than 50 motorcycles and about 65 members of the North Carolina Patriot Guard Riders escorted the hearse to a funeral home in Fayetteville.
A statement from the 82nd Airborne Division last week said McLaughlin’s wife and four children are among his survivors.
The Taliban took responsibility for the attack.
More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Last year was the deadliest for U.S. service members since 2014, with 23 American troops killed, even as Washington engaged in peace talks with the Taliban.
Both McLaughlin and Villalon were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.