Residents of the city of Aurora, Kane County and the nation are mourning the loss of United States Army Pfc. Miguel Villalon, who was killed Saturday (Jan. 11, 2020) by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin, a veteran of the United States Army, said the city’s prayers and condolences are with the Villalon family during this tragic time.
“Miguel was a young soldier with dreams for the future and a desire to make a difference in the world today,” he said. “Much like all of us who have left from our hometown of Aurora to serve our country, our goal is to do our job well and return to our family and friends. Sadly, Miguel made the ultimate sacrifice as he protected our freedom from the front lines.
“The City of Lights shines much dimmer because of this loss.”
The Department of Defense announced Sunday that Villalon, 21, was in a vehicle that was struck by an improvised explosive device in the Kandahar province that also killed Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, VA.
Both soldiers were conducting operations as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC.
The DoD said the incident is under investigation.
Villalon was an East Aurora High School graduate.
He is the second Chicago area service member to die overseas in the last week. On Sunday, 23-year-old Army Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr. of Hazel Crest was killed during an attack in Kenya.
Officials estimate that between 12,000 and 13,000 U.S. troops are serving in Afghanistan as part of a U.S.-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.
There have been more than 2,400 total deaths of U.S. service members since the start of America’s longest war in 2001.