A New York Air National Guard member from the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh died in Afghanistan this week. Staff Sgt. Todd Lobraico Jr. died Thursday after being shot in an attack near Bagram Airfield. Lobraico, 22, was on his second deployment since enlisting in 2008.
Lobraico, from Connecticut, is the first member of the New York Air National Guard to die in a combat zone since Sept. 11, 2001. 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.
Thirty-two members of the New York Army National Guard have been killed in action or died in a combat zone since Sept. 11, 2001; nine of those deaths were in Afghanistan and 23 were in Iraq. This brings to 33 the total number of New York National Guard combat deaths since 2001: with 10 New York National Guard members dying in Afghanistan and 23 in Iraq.
"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 General Patrick Murphy, the 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, the commander of the 105th Airlift Wing.
" 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 in Fairfield, CT. He attended the Air Force's Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, TX, graduating in November 2008 and then entered Security Forces Apprentice School which he finished in February 2009.
Lobraico comes from an Air National Guard Family. His father, Master Sgt. Todd Lobriaco, is a member of the 105th Security Forces Squadron and his mother, Major Linda Rohatsch, commands the 105th Medical Group . Lobraico's awards include the Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Air Force Training Ribbon, and the New York State Humane Service Medal.