The remains of three service members killed in Afghanistan this week have returned to the U.S.
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, were killed after their convoy hit a roadside bomb near Bagram Airfield on Monday. Three other U.S. service members were wounded.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
The three were assigned to 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, which has its headquarters at Fort Devens, a Massachusetts base.
Their remains arrived Thursday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Their unit was deployed to Afghanistan as part of an effort to train Georgian soldiers to serve with NATO forces in Afghanistan.
All three men had been serving in Afghanistan since Oct. 2, 2018 and were scheduled to remain in the region until the end of May.
Slutman, an infantry rifleman who was activated as a reservist, entered the military in 2005, previously serving tours in Iraq and Mozambique. He spent 15 years as a New York City firefighter. He was honored after saving an unconscious woman from a fire in 2014, the New York Post reports.
Hines joined the Marines in 2006 and was deployed to Iraq from September 2008 to April 2009.
Hendricks enlisted in 2012. This was his first deployment.
“We feel and mourn the loss of these Americans with their families and loved ones. They volunteered to protect their country. We will continue our mission,” said Gen. Scott Miller, Commanding General of Resolute Support and United States Forces – Afghanistan.
U.S. Marines spokesman Maj. Roger Hollenbeck said the circumstances surrounding the attack remain under investigation.
“Our focus in the wake of this attack is to support the family, friends and loved ones of our fallen Marines,” Hollenbeck said. “These Marines are honored for their extraordinary bravery and for their direct contribution to the defense of this nation.”
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