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 on Monday when a bomb struck their vehicle near Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, the Pentagon said.
Honoring U.S. Marines killed in suicide car bomb attack in Afghanistan Monday: Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, Locust Valley, N.Y.; Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, York, Pa,; Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, Newark, Del. First U.S. Marines killed in combat in more than 3 years. pic.twitter.com/imW1uknfNK
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) April 10, 2019
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
The three were assigned to 25th Marine Regiment, a Massachusetts-based Marine Reserve unit.
Slutman was a 15-year veteran of the New York Fire Department. He grew up in Maryland and lived in Delaware and New York.
An aunt of Hendriks, Lorraine Caliendo, told Newsday that his brother Joseph, also a Marine, will be escorting Hendricks’ remains back home.
The fatalities brought to seven the number of U.S. troops killed this year in Afghanistan, underscoring the difficulties in bringing peace to the war-wrecked country even as Washington has stepped up efforts to find a way to end the 17-year conflict.
Relatives of the deceased Marines were invited to witness what the military calls a dignified transfer in which the cases containing the remains are transferred to a vehicle from the aircraft that ferried them to the United States.
Media access to the transfer event is allowed if agreed by the family of the fallen service member, under a policy initiated in March 2009.
Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan
The Pentagon has identified two soldiers killed Friday, March 22, in Kunduz Province in Afghanistan as a result of what it said were wounds sustained while engaged in combat.
The two soldiers were identified as Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay, 33, of Cortez, Colorado, and Spc. Joseph Collette of Lancaster, Ohio, 29.
— Melisa (@cmellaniac) March 24, 2019
Collette was assigned to the 242nd Ordnance Battalion, 71st Explosive Ordnance Group in Fort Carson, Colorado, and Lindsay was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Carson.
SFC Will Lindsay conducting convoy operations in Iraq. Will served multiple tours in Iraq in addition to two tours in Afghanistan.
According to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, Lindsay enlisted in the Army in 2004 and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart Medal, among other awards. His deployments include a handful of tours in Iraq, as well as tours in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
SPC Joseph "Joey" Collette.
Col. Lawrence Ferguson, commander of the 10th Special Forces group, of which Lindsay was a member, said in a statement that his fellow soldiers are “deeply saddened” by his loss.
“Will was one of the best in our formation, with more than a decade of service in the Regiment at all levels of noncommissioned officer leadership. We will focus now on supporting his Family and honoring his legacy and sacrifice,” Ferguson said.
SFC Will Lindsay in Iraq. Will spent six years of his Special Forces career as a senior weapons sergeant.
NTD News reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.