Miguel Villalon was in a vehicle that was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar province, according to a Twitter message posted by the City of Aurora.
The other service member killed in the attack, for which the Taliban took immediate responsibility, has not yet been identified.
“Tonight, the Aurora community mourns the heartbreaking loss of Miguel Vallalon, 21,” the post reads. “He was one of two U.S. service members who passed away today while serving in Afghanistan. A former student at East Aurora High School, Miguel was proud to serve in the United States Army.”
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who is an Army veteran, also commented on Villalon’s passing.
“Our prayers and condolences are with the Villalon family during this tragic time,” Irvin said in a statement, according to WBBM-TV of Chicago. “Miguel was a young soldier with dreams for the future and a desire to make a difference in the world today.
“Miguel was a young soldier with dreams for the future and a desire to make a difference in the world today.”
— Aurora, Ill., Mayor Richard Irvin
“Much like all of us who have left from our hometown of Aurora to serve our country, our goal is to do our job well and return to our family and friends,” Irvin continued. “Sadly, Miguel made the ultimate sacrifice as he protected our freedom from the front lines. The City of Lights shines much dimmer because of this loss. We’ll stand with his family and provide support. Godspeed, young soldier.”
Saturday’s tragedy hit the Chicago area especially hard because just days earlier, Army Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr., 23, of Hazel Crest, Ill., was identified as the service member who was killed Jan. 5 in a terror attack against U.S. and Kenyan forces in Kenya.
Army Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr., 23, of Hazel Crest, Ill., was identified as the service member who was killed Jan. 5 in a terror attack in Kenya.
More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Last year was one of the deadliest for the United States, with 23 American troops killed, even as Washington engaged in peace talks with the Taliban.
About 2,000 international forces are currently stationed in Afghanistan, focused on training and advising Afghan security forces, with a portion focused on counterterrorism, Stars and Stripes reported.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this story.