FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN/WAVY) — The body of Army Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin, killed in Afghanistan last week, came off the plane Saturday at Fort Bragg in a “dignified transfer of remains” ceremony.
The fallen soldier was welcomed by family, fellow soldiers, and veterans. Among the veterans was Steve Havens with the North Carolina Patriot Guard.
“There is a brotherhood,” Havens said. “That’s why it means so much to us.”
McLaughlin, a husband and father of four, was killed by during a roadside attack in Afghanistan. He was 29 years old.
“We are here rain, cold, — we will be here to show honor and respect,” Havens said.
“Unfortunately, yes, me and my wife have been through the same ordeal,” He said.
Havens lost his son, soldier Tyler Chatfield, two years ago.
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.
Soldiers were saluting along the route as the 82nd Airborne Paratrooper took his final ride home.
McLaughlin was a native of Newport News, Virginia, but he was raising his family in the area around Fort Bragg.
The community lined up along the way to show support.
Fort Bragg soldier Joseph Hughes and his parents were among the supporters.
“He’s a hero, he put his life on the line to defend everyone else so they should be proud of that,” Hughes said.
McLaughlin and fellow paratrooper Miguel Angel Villalon both died after getting hit by an IED in Afghanistan last Saturday. It was their first deployment.