Remains of Valley native killed in Afghanistan back in the U.S.

A U.S. Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, past Vice President Mike Pence, center, and other dignitaries, late Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Villalon, of Joliet, Ill., was killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The remains of Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon are now in the United States.

Villalon’s remains arrived Tuesday night at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Vice President Mike Pence and other dignitaries were at the air base to accept the remains.

The Brownsville native was killed Saturday in Afghanistan after an IED struck the vehicle he was riding in.

Villalon and Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin, of New Port News, Va. were in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

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 “C” device (awarded to service members who perform “meritoriously under the most arduous combat conditions”) and the Combat Action Badge.

According to officials, both soldiers were on their first combat deployments.

Funeral arrangements for Villalon are pending.