Pentagon Identifies Six Airmen Killed in Suicide Attack in Afghanistan

Airmen from the honor guard at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, finish folding a flag during a memorial service Jan. 22, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joshua Green)
Airmen from the honor guard at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, finish folding a flag during a memorial service Jan. 22, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joshua Green)

The U.S. Defense Department has identified the six U.S. airmen killed this week in a suicide attack in Afghanistan.

The service members were killed Dec. 21 when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motocycle laden with explosives into a foot patrol being conducted by U.S. and Afghan forces near Bagram Air Base.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, the Pentagon identified the troops as: Maj. Adrianna M. Vorderbruggen, 36, of Plymouth, Minnesota; Staff Sgt. Michael A. Cinco, 28, of Mercedes, Texas; Staff Sgt. Peter W. Taub, 30, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Staff Sgt.  Chester J. McBride, 30, of Statesboro, Georgia; Technical Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, 45, of Bronx, New York; and Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa, 31, of Coram, New York.

Lemm was identified on Tuesday as a New York City police detective and 15-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, as well as a husband and father of three children, according to information released by the department.

"Detective Joseph Lemm epitomized the selflessness we can only strive for -- putting his country and city first," NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said in a statement. "We grieve and we remember this selfless public servant who dedicated his life to protecting others."

Lemm was assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York.

Vorderbruggen was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 9th Field Investigations Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Cinco was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 11th Field Investigations Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.

Taub was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 816, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.

McBride was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 405, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. 

Bonacasa was assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York.

The attack near the largest U.S. facility in Afghanistan was the deadliest on foreign troops or civilians in four months. On Aug. 22, three American contractors were killed in a suicide attack in Kabul.

"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of those affected in this tragic incident, especially during this holiday season," Army Brig. Gen. William Shoffner, a spokesman for NATO's Resolute Support mission in Kabul, said in a statement. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called the attack "a painful reminder of the dangers our troops face every day in Afghanistan" against a resurgent Taliban and the new threat from the growing presence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, in southeastern Afghanistan. President Barack Obama was on vacation in Hawaii, where the White House issued a statement condemning the "cowardly attack" while pledging that the U.S. would "remain committed to supporting the Afghan people and their government."

--Richard Sisk contributed to this report.

--Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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