Texas governor orders flags lowered to half-staff to honor soldier killed in Afghanistan

Spc. Miguel Angel Villalon was killed in Afghanistan Jan. 11, 2020 after an improvised explosive device struck the vehicle he was riding in.


By LAURA B. MARTINEZ | The Monitor | Published: January 23, 2020

(Tribune News Service) — Governor Greg Abbott has ordered that the state and U.S. flags in Cameron County and surrounding counties be lowered and fly at half-staff in honor of U.S. Army Spc. Miguel A. Villalon, who was killed this month in Afghanistan.

The order comes from a request by the City of Brownsville that the flags be lowered to honor the 21-year-old Brownsville native.

“Individuals, businesses, municipalities, and other political subdivisions and entities are encouraged to fly flags at half-staff for the same length of time,” Abbott stated in a press release.

The flag will remain at half-staff until Villalon’s burial, which is Saturday.

Officials said Villalon and Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin of Newport News, Virginia, were in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan when they were killed.

According to a U.S. Department of Defense press release, the soldiers were conducting operations as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. The incident is under investigation.

Both soldiers were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Villalon joined the Army in 2018 to be a combat engineer and reported to the 307th as his first assignment. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Army Achievement Medal with “V” device (awarded to service members who perform “meritoriously under the most arduous combat conditions”) and the Combat Action Badge.

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