Lance Cpl. Layla Loughman, BHS Class of 2019, at Hamid Karzai International Airport

September 1, 2021
Lance Cpl. Layla Loughman, a 2019 graduate of Bedford High School appeared on President Joe Biden’s @Potus Instagram caption, “The extraordinary success of the mission in Afghanistan was due to the incredible skill and courage of our military, diplomats, and intelligence professionals. Risking their lives not for personal gain, but to save others. Not in a mission of war, but in a mission of mercy.”


As the image appeared, liked by 804,392 Instagrammers, with 12,547 comments.

There’s a photograph from the Aug. 20 evacuation of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul that already has become iconic – a U.S. Marine swaddling an infant passed to rescuers by desperate Afghani parents.

That picture, which is displayed on President Joe Biden’s Instagram account, features a 2019 Bedford High School graduate.

Lance Cpl. Layla Loughman hopes to be back in the United States soon, said her mother, Ilham Loughman, in an interview Wednesday evening.

Layla Loughman enlisted in the Marines in August 2019, her mother said, fulfilling a longtime goal. “She wanted to serve her country.” Ilham Loughman laughed that this might have been hereditary – “I was raised in France and when I was 18 I wanted to enlist in the navy.”

“Since she was in Afghanistan, she definitely wants to re-enlist for another four years,” Layla’s mother reported.

They communicate by text message, she said; Layla told her mother the photo was taken by combat photographers. Mrs. Loughman said her daughter did not reveal her specific mission at the airport.

“There were a lot of things she said she couldn’t tell me,” her mother said. “I asked a lot of questions – I’m a mom!”

Lance Cpl. Loughman, who was a student in the Bedford Public Schools since kindergarten, references the Book of Isaiah, chapter 41, verse 10, on her Instagram page. The verse reads: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763

Correction, 9/2/2021: This story has been edited.

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Ginni Spencer
September 2, 2021 11:01 am

This is a fantastic photograph — all the more poignant to me because Lance Corporal Loughman herself seems so young. I don’t say that to in anyway take away from her capabilities and the bravery of her presence there, but rather that war asks so much of the youngest among us, as this photograph attests.

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