NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. — As the nation honors its fallen heroes on Memorial Day, the story of a 22-year-old local soldier's death hits closer to home.
Staff Sgt. Todd “TJ” Lobraico, who had roots in New Fairfield and Sherman, was killed in action on Sept. 5, 2013. His unit was ambushed and attacked by insurgents by small arms fire outside of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
In time for Memorial Day, a documentary on his life, 'Family Mission: The TJ Lobraico Story', has been released on iTunes.
The movie, directed by Scott Mactavish, is available for $12.99. ( Click here to purchase.)
"'Family Mission' is a feature documentary based on the life of TJ Lobraico, a USAF Staff Sergeant from Connecticut who gave his life for his country in Afghanistan in 2013. TJ's mother, father and step-father also served in the Air Force, and the film explores the history and dynamics of these brave Americans who consider service to others a family mission," according to iTunes.
Lobraico grew up at an Air National Guard base, where both his parents served, tagging along with them on drill weekends.
The family’s military service legacy began with Lobraico’s grandfather, a U.S. Air Force general. His stepfather also served in the Air Force.
Lobraico joined the 105th Base Defense Squadron at the Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., in 2008. He went on to deploy to both Afghanistan and Iraq, and quickly rose to the position of staff sergeant.
When Lobraico discovered a pack of insurgents while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2013, he didn’t hesitate to put himself in harm’s way for the sake of his comrades.
The 22-year-old airman became the first from Stewart to die in battle since the Vietnam War. His actions prevented an ambush of his team and likely thwarted an attack on the Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.
Had Lobraico lived, he might have gone on to serve in a different way. He attended Western Connecticut State University, studying justice and law administration with an aspiration to follow in the footsteps of his father, Stamford police Officer Todd James Lobraico, who was a master sergeant with the 105th.
Lobraico's mother, Linda Rohatsch, is a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor.