Command Sgt. Maj. John Keith Laborde
Born on Mar. 2, 1957 in Marksville, LA
Died on Apr. 22, 2010 at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan
John was raised and educated in Marksville and in July of 1975, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served for ten years, stationed in Europe, Africa and southwest Asia and achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant on June 25, 1985. The next day John joined the Army reserves. The following autumn he married his wife Lori and together they raised five children. As a civilian John was employed as a supervisor for AMSA in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for over 28 years. He was highly active in in his community and church, teaching and guiding others in their lives. John was a great mentor and disciplinarian, and well respected for his opinions and guidance. Tough and direct, he loved to go hunting and fishing and you were welcome to tag along, as long as you baited your own hooks. The United States flag was important to John. He was known to give new flags to neighbors who were flying faded ones. In 2007 John was promoted to Command Sergeant Major and assigned to the 649th Regional Support Group, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He deployed to Afghanistan along with 50 other soldiers in August of 2009 to provide management and support to other troops there. It was his tenth over seas deployment. At Christmas time, the Reinbeck Iowa Lion’s Club sent care packages to John and his troops. As a thank you, John sent them a United States flag that had flown over the base on Christmas Day. John died of a heart attack after leading soldiers in physical training in Afghanistan at the age of 53 years. He had served his flag and country for 31 of those years. His military decorations include, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, The meritorious Service medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Ribbon with bronze star, The Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on terrorism Expeditionary medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, the Marine Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with silver star, the NATO international Security Assistance Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Meritorious Unit Commendation and various other ribbons.
Burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in Oelwein, Iowa.