STEWART AIR BASE – Staff Sergeant
Todd “TJ” Lobraico was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star
Medal with Valor at the 105th Base Defense Squadron Headquarters within
the Stewart Air National Guard Base.
Lobraico, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan on September 5,
2013, had his award presented to his mother and father, both active service
Air Guard officers, Saturday afternoon. Lt. Colonel Linda Rohatsch and
Master Sgt. Todd Lobraico accepted the honor on behalf of their son at
a ceremony at the 105th Base Defense Squadron and 105th Airlift Wing.
Guard members and family honor T.J. Lobraico, Jr., killed while
serving in Afghanistan
Todd Lobraico Jr. was 22 when he died of wounds he sustained scouting
a hostile area for his unit during a firefight near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
His mother, Lt. Colonel Rohatsch, said she has fond memories of her son
as a very easy going, good natured person and is very proud of his distinction;
although, she misses him.
“It’s bitter sweet. Of course we’d ultimately rather
have him here with us today but it’s nice to know that his sacrifice
isn’t going unnoticed and unrecognized and that’s what today
is, is recognizing him for what he did,” she said.
Colonel Timothy La Barge, 105th Air Wing commander, was asked by the family
to speak on their son’s behalf and to present the award. La Barge
knew Lobraico Jr. personally and said he was a model soldier as well as
a model person.
La Barge said he was not surprised at all by Lobraico Jr.’s actions
the day he was killed.
“The Bronze Star with Valor is a tremendous award and it goes to
the people that are certainly most deserving and certainly when somebody
places their body in the line of fire between the insurgents and their
fellow team members that is somebody who is right in the wheelhouse for
exactly what a Bronze Star with Valor should mean and I can guarantee
you that TJ didn’t think about it for a minute,” said LaBarge
said. “He wasn’t thinking about Bronze Star with Valor, he
wasn’t thinking about accolades, he was thinking about how to defend
his team members and his training took over and his professionalism took
over and he just did what was necessary.”
Staff Sergeant TJ Lobraico has also posthumously been the recipient of
the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Medal and the Air Force Commendation
Medal with Valor.