Pentagon IDs 3 Reserve Marines Killed in IED Attack in Afghanistan

  • From left, Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania; Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York; and Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Delaware were killed on Monday, April 8, 2019 while conducting combat operations near Kabul, Afghanistan. (DoD Photos)
    From left, Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania; Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York; and Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Delaware were killed on Monday, April 8, 2019 while conducting combat operations near Kabul, Afghanistan. (DoD Photos)
  • A man brings flowers to a firehouse in the Bronx borough of New York, Tuesday, April 9, 2019.   Christopher Slutman, a 15-year FDNY member, was among three American service members killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Monday.  New York City said Slutman was the fourth FDNY member to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2003. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    A man brings flowers to a firehouse in the Bronx borough of New York, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Christopher Slutman, a 15-year FDNY member, was among three American service members killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Monday. New York City said Slutman was the fourth FDNY member to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2003. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Defense Department has identified the three Marine reservists who were killed just north of Kabul in Afghanistan this week.

Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York, died on Monday while conducting combat operations.

The three were assigned to 25th Marine Regiment, a Massachusetts-based Reserve unit.

Slutman, Hines and Hendriks died when their vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device near Bagram Air Base in Parwan province. Three other U.S. troops were injured in the attack, along with an Afghan contractor.

Defense Department officials initially reported that the contractor had also been killed in the blast, but on Tuesday they announced that he had survived.

The Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack.

Officials did not immediately respond to questions about how many members of the 25th Marines are currently deployed to Afghanistan or what their main mission there is. These are the first combat casualties for the Marine Corps since 2016 when Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin was killed by Islamic State group terrorists in Iraq.

Slutman was a father of three and a firefighter who had received the Fire Chief Association Memorial Medal for saving a woman's life in 2013, CBS News reported.

"He was good. He was always positive," Slutman's father, Fletcher Slutman, told the station. "He was always doing things for people, so you felt good if he were around."

Hines completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina in 2007, the York Daily Record reported.

A tribute to posted on social media by someone who said Hines was his first squad leader said, "he always pushed me to become better in every way possible not only as a Marine, but as a person," according to the paper.

This story will be updated.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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