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Vulture Airmen gather to remember fallen hero

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
  • 455th AEW Public Affairs
Members of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing recently gathered to remember a fallen Airman who heroically gave his life in 2013 while serving on deployment here.

Staff Sgt. Todd Lobraico, who was assigned to the 755th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, was killed by small arms fire Sept. 5, 2013, when insurgents attacked his unit near BAF. After realizing his unit was in trouble, he took the lead to get his fellow Airmen to safety which resulted in his untimely death.

Lobraico was a member of the 105th Base Defense Squadron Headquarters at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York. Prior to deploying to Bagram, he served on a deployment in Iraq between 2010-2011.

A member who was a part of the response team during the time Lobraico and his team were attacked, Staff Sgt. Kyle Henderson, Task Force Crimson Expeditionary Detachment 2405 fire team leader, said Lobraico’s heroism impacted his and his fellow Airmen’s lives.

“I was on the team that responded to TJ when the attack happened; it truly has impacted all of our lives,” said Henderson. “After being deployed here again, I and my team thought it was right to make a dedication for TJ so Airmen can know his story and know the sacrifice he gave to save his team.”

According to an Air Force Times article, Lobraico’s Bronze star citation stated that he volunteered to set up a listening and observation post eight miles from Bagram in hostile enemy territory. He volunteered to take the point position, and scouted and provided security for the fire team.

The citation stated: “With total disregard for his own safety, he placed himself directly between his fire team and the insurgents, who unleashed a hellish barrage of rocket, grenade and small arms fire. He took immediate decisive actions while braving the intense enemy fire, and was mortally wounded while directing the maneuver of his fire team to covered positions from which they could effectively defend themselves and return fire on the enemy positions.”

Sgt. Henderson and his team planned the ceremony dedicated to Lobraico, and created a shadow box complete with an OCP top, American flag and description of Lobraico’s story to celebrate the Airman’s life.

“We remember TJ, what he did and what he stands for. We’re proud to call him a wingman, leader, warrior and we’re indebted to him for giving the last full measure of himself so that others may live,” said Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Grengs, 455 AEW command chief. “He’s a hero, an example for all of us to aspire to be.”

Lobraico’s dedication shadow box can be seen hanging on the wall at the Vulture’s Nest.