DANBURY, Conn. -- Todd “TJ” Lobraico literally grew up at an Air National Guard base where both his parents served, tagging along with them on drill weekends and making friends with everyone there.
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.
So it was no surprise when Lobraico, who grew up in Sherman and New Fairfield, 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 -- a testament, said one superior officer, to his professionalism, hard work, and dedication.
So it was also no surprise when Lobraico, having discovered a pack of insurgents while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2013, didn’t hesitate to put himself in harm’s way for the sake of his comrades.
Killed in the ensuing firefight, 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.
Having attended Western Connecticut State University where he studied justice and law administration, he aspired 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, a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, was also chief operating officer of PhysicianOne Urgent Care of Connecticut in Danbury.
The hometown hero is now the subject of “Family Mission: The T.J. Lobraico Story,” a documentary that will be screened at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at the Palace Theatre in Danbury.
Director Scott Mactavish will hold a Q&A after the film.
Proceeds will go to Live for TJ – The TJ Lobraico Foundation, which provides educational scholarships and supports individuals and organizations exemplifying “service before self.”
The theater is located at 165 Main St.
Tickets are $20. To buy tickets, click here.
For more information, call 212-763-7731, or visit www.facebook.com/livefortj/
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.