The United States lost six more soldiers in Afghanistan when a Taliban terrorist rammed a foot patrol with an explosive-laden motorbike. One of those killed was already familiar to many lawyers. Air Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen was one of the first openly gay service members to come forward after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in 2011. She was among a true “band of brothers” who represented the very best of this country in its diversity and patriotism. Vorderbruggen shows how gay and lesbian personnel continue to step forward to put themselves in peril in defense of their fellow citizens — even those who have long fought their effort to achieve equal rights.
Among her comrades killed in the attack was also Air National Guardsman Joseph Lemm, 45, a 15-year veteran of the New York Police Department. During his deployment, an Italian market in the Bronx would send him cookies and candies to remind him of home.
Also killed was Chester McBride, assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 405, at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. McBride was a star football player at his high school in Georgia and joined the Air Force after graduating from Savannah State University.
Staff Sergeant Peter Taub, 30, of Philadelphia, was married with a 3-year-old son, and was expecting a second child to be born next summer. He was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 816, at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
Staff Sgt. Michael A. Cinco, 28, of Mercedes, Texas, assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 11th Field Investigations Squadron, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas.
Major Vorderbruggen had served as a special agent with the Office of Special Investigations in various bases. Vorderbruggen and her civilian wife, Heather Lamb, were married in June of 2012, and were raising a son who is not yet five.
The unit was a snapshot of the United States and shows the strength that is found in our diversity and equality. Each of these brave people will be missed not only by their grieving families but the nation as a whole.