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Connecticut Cadets Honor Fallen Warrior at Tomb of Unknown Soldier
By Captain Michael Chapleau, 801st Commander, and Major Peter Milano, Public Affairs Officer, Connecticut Wing. Photo by Jean Gephart.
Staff Sergeant Lobraico, assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., gave his life protecting his team, consisting of nine airmen and a K-9, while on patrol near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on the night of September 5, 2013. His actions have been described by his fellow servicemen as “an uncommon act of valor” that assuredly saved the lives of those he was with that night. According to accounts, SSgt. Lobraico was at the head of the unit, with the K-9 and its handler following. When the K-9 indicated the presence of the enemy, “Lobraico pushed the dog and its handler to safety and took up a strategic position between his men and the enemy,” said Stamford Police Department Chaplain, Reverend John Revell. "His act of uncommon valor allowed the rest of the team to take cover and lay down cover fire," said Rev. Revell. Major Bruno Gaita of the 105th Security Forces Squadron said “from all accounts, he put himself directly in harm’s way without any hesitation. He saved people in the firefight.” SSgt. Lobraico secured his team’s safety, but succumbed to wounds received during the fight.
It was in honor of this selfless act that Civil Air Patrol’s New Fairfield Cadets assisted the Sentinel Honor Guard from the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment at the Tomb of the Unknowns to lay a wreath on behalf of the students and staff of New Fairfield High School. Led by Cadet First Lieutenant Jake Stoffel (801st Cadet Commander), Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Sabrina Routter, Cadet Chief Master Sergeant Andre Vasquez, and Cadet Senior Master Sergeant Natalie Deleon presented the wreath for display. The wreath was donated by the New Fairfield High School Juniors who attended the class trip to D.C. on March 13 and 14.
In the presence of 150 New Fairfield High School students, ten NFHS staff, and other citizens present for the ceremony, the Sentinel Honor Guard staff played taps to honor fallen Airman, Staff Sergeant Lobraico. Captain Michael Chapleau, 801st Commander and Assistant Principal at New Fairfield High School, reflected, “It was a sobering moment for all, but served the best history lesson students could receive; freedom isn’t free and is given to us at the highest cost of the brave young men and women, sons and daughters, brothers in arms, classmates and friends who serve our country.
Staff Sergeant Lobraico, “TJ”, “you will always be remembered, honored, and loved.”
Peter Milano, Public Affairs Officer