Rain and fog forced the C-17 aircraft carrying the remains of six service members to land in New Castle, Delaware rather than the usual Dover, Delaware, according to Delaware State News. The dignified transfer of the remains of the fallen is held at Dover Air Base because it is the home of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations.
The six were killed in Bagram, Afghanistan by a “lone wolf” riding a motorcycle laden with explosives. The Washington Post reported:
In emailed statements and tweets Monday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on American soldiers near Bagram and said its forces had successfully overtaken the strategic Sangin district of Helmand province in the south.
A statement from the insurgents said a “self-sacrificing attacker” named Zahidullah, riding a motorbike, targeted American soldiers patrolling in Bagram. The statement also said that 19 American “occupiers” were killed and “a huge number” wounded. The Taliban often exaggerates enemy casualty numbers.
Ignoring the inflated numbers, it is important to remember that while the United States is no longer conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, the Taliban is STILL conducting combat operations “lone wolf” or other. We may not be “at war”, but the enemy still is and our service personnel are still at risk. This week six more families became Gold Star families.
Before the remains of the six killed left for home, the Air Force conducted a battlefield cross service to honor those killed and give their brothers and sisters in service an opportunity to mourn and remember. Here is a snippet from that service:
The Delaware State News reports this from the battlefield cross service:
“How do we honor these six heroes?” asked Lt. Col. David Kelley, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain. “We honor them by pressing on with the mission. The same mission they were willing to give their lives for.”
According to Delaware State News, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter attended the homecoming service along with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.
The six who died in the attack in service for their country were:
Maj. Adrianna M. Vorderbruggen, 36, of Plymouth, Minnesota. She was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 9th Field Investigations Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
Staff Sgt. Michael A. Cinco, 28, of Mercedes, Texas. He was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 11th Field Investigations Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.
Staff Sgt. Peter W. Taub, 30, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 816, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.
Staff Sgt. Chester J. McBride, 30, of Statesboro, Georgia. He was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 405, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Technical Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, 45, of Bronx, New York. He was assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York.
Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa, 31, of Coram, New York. He was assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York.
We honor and remember their service this holiday season. We thank and honor their families.