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Fairfield County Soldier Killed In Afghanistan To Be Honored For Heroism

New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Todd "T.J." Lobraico Jr. will be recognized with the posthumous award of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor during a ceremony at Stewart Air National Guard Base on Saturday, April 11.
New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Todd "T.J." Lobraico Jr. will be recognized with the posthumous award of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor during a ceremony at Stewart Air National Guard Base on Saturday, April 11. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Todd "T.J." Lobraico Jr., 22, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in September 2013, will be honored with the posthumous award of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor during a ceremony at Stewart Air National Guard Base on Saturday, April 11.

Building 106, the 105th Base Defense Squadron headquarters, will also be dedicated in his honor at 1 p.m. at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y.

Known to his family and friends as "T.J.," he died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire near Bagram Air Field.

Lobraico's mother, Linda Rohatsch, is lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard and commands the 105th Medical Group. She is also chief operating officer of PhysicianOne Urgent Care of Connecticut in Danbury. His father, Todd James Lobraico, serves as a master sergeant with the 105th Security Forces Squadron, and is a member of the Stamford Police Department.

A resident of Sherman, he joined the 105th Airlift Wing in 2008 after graduating from New Fairfield High School.

On Sept. 5, 2013, Lobraico volunteered to establish a listening and observation post eight miles from base in known hostile enemy territory.

He discovered a large insurgent force planning a combined rocket-propelled grenade, improvised explosive device and small arms complex ambush of his fire team.

"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," said a statement from the New York Air National Guard.

"Sergeant Lobraico took immediate and decisive actions while braving this intense enemy fire, and was mortally wounded while directing the maneuver of his fire team," said the statement.

"His actions were instrumental in gaining fire superiority and the survival of his team. Sergeant Lobraico's remarkable heroism, valorous actions and selfless commitment to his fellow Defenders resulted in the removal of numerous insurgents from the battlefield at the cost of his own life.

"By his heroic actions and unselfish dedication to duty in the service of his country, Sergeant Lobraico has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force."

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