Red Bulls patrol area around COP Najil

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Iowa town showers small Afghan school with supplies

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PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)

French forces support Afghan troops in Kapisa

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Panjshir PRT engineers inspect Paryan road

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)

TF White Eagle saves lives of mother, infant

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)

1st Bn., 187th Inf. Regt., patrols Sabari District

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Freedom Restoration Center helps troops get back to duty

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)

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LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Pfc. Ira B. Laningham IV was a 21-year-old Zapata, Texas native assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment’s Task Force Storm, when he was killed during complex attack using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire while on a patrol to detain suspected terrorists in Charkh District Jan. 7.LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A Task Force Patriot Soldier from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Polk, La. died as the result of an enemy attack in Logar Province Jan. 7.

U.S. Army Pfc. Ira B. Laningham IV was a 22-year-old Zapata, Texas, native assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment’s Task Force Storm, when he was killed during a complex attack using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire while on a patrol to detain suspected terrorists.

U.S. Army Sgt. Wallace Trahan of Prairieville, La., said he remembers the day Laningham came to his squad and immediately became Trahan’s driver.

“Day one, night fall, Spc. (Thomas) Servias (of Gross Pointe Woods, Mich.) and I began playing the ‘movie game’ and Ira wanted in saying, ‘Oh, I watch movies all the time,’” recalled Trahan. “As it turns out, he knew maybe three actors, causing us to tag him ‘worst movie game player ever’... It became a constant source of whole-hearted laughter for us, because he would never give up. He always wanted to play. Ira was persistent and loved a challenge.”

U.S. Army Spc. James Wartes of Albany, Ore., said Laningham was one of the funniest guys he ever met. Wartes would always be happier, or just be smiling, after spending only a few minutes with Laningham, who loved to quote movies and could make anyone laugh, he said.

“His laugh will be missed. One major memory I have of him is me cutting his hair and halfway through, as I was changing out tips, he thought I was done got up and said, ‘Thanks,’” said Wartes. “At the very moment I was going to say, ‘I’m not done,’ everyone looked at his halfway done haircut and just busted up laughing.”

U.S. Army Spc. James Hairston of Blairs, Va., said Laningham was one of the best friends he has ever had and reminded Hairston of himself. Laningham would go to Hairston when he had a problem. Hairston said he could confide in Laningham the same way, and they would often just sit and talk for hours, he said.

Among Hairston’s fondest memories of “Ben”, Laningham’s nickname, is the time he took Laningham and his soon-to-be wife Stephanie, “Steff,” to a justice of the peace to be married.

“Steff set in the back seat of my car and broke the seal to the door. I was a little mad but things happen,” said Hairston. “Ben told me that he would fix it when we got back home. On our way ... we stopped at the shoppette. I was pumping gas and Ben went to get something to drink.

“So when he went to get in the front seat of the car, he broke the front seal - two in one day; I was mad, but Ben and Steff laughed so hard I couldn’t help but laugh too,” continued Hairston. “I forgave him at that moment. At the justice of the peace, I sat watching Ben and Steff say their ‘I dos.’ I have never in my life seen two people so happy. He will be missed by many.”

Laningham’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal,  Afghan Campaign Medal with Star Device, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutist Badge.

 

    

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