Thursday, April 22, 2010

Army Command Sgt. Maj. John K. Laborde

Remember Our Heroes

Army Command Sgt. Maj. John K. Laborde, 53, of Waterloo, Iowa

Command Sgt. Maj. Laborde was assigned to the 649th Regional Support Group, U.S. Army Reserve, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; died April 22, 2010 at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related incident.

Command Sgt. Major John “Keith” Laborde, 53, died Thursday at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan from non-combat related incident, according to officials. Details about the incident have not been released. Laborde was part of the 649th Regional Support Group in Cedar Rapids.

First Lt. for the 103rd Expeditionary Support Command Michael Meyer confirmed the death. “Command Sergeant Major Laborde led a distinguished career of over 31 years in the military. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family here in Iowa, and to his comrades-in-arms still serving in Afghanistan,” Meyer said in a statement.

Laborde, who was deployed overseas 10 times and claimed to have never lost a soldier, enlisted in the Marine Corps in July of 1975. He enlisted in Camp Pendleton, Calif., as an infantry assualtman and served in active duty in Europe, Africa and southwest Asia.

He enlisted in the Army in 1985 and was part of the 1st 389th Engineer Battalion in Middleton and worked as a construction equipment repairer. He transferred to the 649th Regional Support Group in Cedar Rapids in 2007 and was promoted to Command Sergeant Major.

Laborde was deployed with 50 soldiers from the 649th in August to provide management and support operations for forces in Afghanistan.

In a letter to members of Iowa's Bravest in December, Laborde thanked volunteers for taking the time to send care packages: "... Your kindness and support has brought smiles to many soldiers in our area of operations. The packages that you sent went to the (Army Reserve) 649th Regional Support Group, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and they have shared the generosity to many others within our region. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are enjoying the fruits of your labor, and are sending their thanks and appreciation for all that you are doing back home."

Laborde was born in Louisiana, according to Army officials. He was an active member of the Reinbeck Lions Club, American Legion Post 242, Holy Family Parish Catholic Church, and was a High School Catechist/Teacher.

Laborde is the 74th person with Iowa ties killed in Iraq, Afghanistan or other places from combat, illness or accident since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

Iner Larsen, who lives across the street from the Labordes, called him a “terrific serviceman” who had dedicated his life to the military. Laborde grew up in Louisiana and had lived in Reinbeck for at least a decade, Larsen said.

He is survived by his wife Lori Laborde, five children and two grandchildren. His family, through Meyer, requested privacy and declined Saturday to speak with the media. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. John K. Laborde was killed in a non-combat related incident on 4/22/10.

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