COLUMBUS – State Representative Andrea White (R-Kettering) Tuesday urged members of the Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee to pass recently introduced legislation renaming portions of State Route 48 in Southern Montgomery County as the Sergeant Kevin J. Lannon Memorial Highway and the Sergeant Cameron H. Thomas Memorial Highway.
The pair of Army Rangers both lost their lives while serving the country in combat.
“These two brave soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to protect our nation,” said White. “I want to memorialize these two heroes from my district and give them the honor they deserve. It is a privilege to introduce this legislation to recognize their sacrifice and dedication to our freedom.”
Sgt. Lannon, a 1980 graduate of Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, passed away Oct. 27, 1983 during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada after the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment parachuted into combat under heavy enemy fire. Sgt. Lannon’s mission was changed to support the 1st Ranger Battalion as a medic. He stayed with the battalion for two days receiving heavy enemy fire. Five Rangers were killed in action and 14 others were injured during the two-day conflict. Assisting as a medic and infantryman during this time, Sgt. Lannon was directly responsible for saving several lives by providing immediate medical care. He posthumously received the Bronze Star with Valor for his heroic actions.
Sgt. Thomas, a 2012 graduate of Kettering Fairmont High School, enlisted in the Army upon graduation. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and was the youngest person, at the time, to earn the Ranger Tab.
Sgt. Thomas was on his third deployment on April 27, 2017 when he was killed in action in Nangarhar Providence, Afghanistan. Sgt. Thomas was a part of two Ranger platoons and an accompanying Afghan Special Security Force unit that flew into Mohmand Valley on a mission to intercept a high-level leader of the insurgent group ISIS-K.
Upon landing, his platoon received heavy enemy fire at close range. In the ensuing fire-fight, several high-level ISIS-K leaders and upwards of 35 insurgent fighters were killed. Sgt. Thomas was killed during the raid by small-arms fire. Sgt. Thomas was awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and the NATO Medal. Sgt. Thomas was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, as well.
Throughout Ohio, there are more than 200 sections of roadways designated as memorial highways. Each designation requires legislation to be passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.
“It is a privilege to introduce this legislation to recognize Sgt. Lannon and Sgt. Thomas and their sacrifice and dedication to our freedom,” White said.