One of the first openly gay, female service members to marry was identified on Tuesday as one of the six U.S. troops killed by a suicide bomber near Bagram air base in Afghanistan.
Friends and family on Tuesday mourned the death of Air Force Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen and sent comforting messages on Facebook to her wife Heather and her son Jacob, who live near Washington, D.C., Reuters reported.
Pentagon officials confirmed her identity but did not provide any other details.
Vorderbruggen’s 2012 marriage to her civilian partner was seen by gay rights activists as a groundbreaking milestone following the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
“We do find comfort in knowing that Heather and Jacob are no longer in the shadows and will be extended the rights and protections due any American military family as they move through this incredibly difficult period in their lives,” Military Partners and Families Coalition wrote in a post.
Vorderbruggen was among six American troops killed Monday when a suicide bomber on a motorbike struck their patrol.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the deadliest attack on U.S. troops this year.
Another victim killed in the attack was New York City Detective Joseph Lemm, a 15-year veteran of the NYPD who volunteered in the U.S. Air National Guard.
Bagram is about 25 miles north of the Afghan capital of Kabul and is one of the main bases for the remaining 9,800 U.S. troops left in the region after international troops ended combat operations last year.
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