The Department of Defense identified the three U.S. Marines who were killed in a improvised explosive device attack near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
They were assigned to 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve:
- Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York
- Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania
- Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Delaware
"Marine Forces Reserve is deeply saddened to confirm the death of three of our Marines who were killed in an attack while deployed to Afghanistan as part of Georgia Deployment Program-Resolute Support Mission,” Maj. Roger Hollenbeck said in a statement. “Our focus in the wake of this attack is to support the family, friends and loved ones of our fallen Marines. These Marines are honored for their extraordinary bravery and for their direct contribution to the defense of this nation.”
Maj. Hollenbeck said the attack is still under investigation.
“The Marines were part of the Georgia Deployment Program-Resolute Support Mission, a reoccurring, six-month rotation between U.S. Marines and Georgian Armed Forces that contributes to NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan,” he explained.
The Marines came from all walks of life and had big impacts in their civilian life.
“I am the proudest dad on Earth,” Erik Hendriks, the father of Cpl. Hendriks, told the New York Post. “It is going to sound like a cliche but he was the perfect son. He never caused me one problem.”
SSgt. Slutman was a New York City firefighter who was attached to Ladder Company 27 in the South Bronx.
“Firefighter Slutman bravely wore two uniforms and committed his life to public service both as a New York City Firefighter and as a member of the United States Marine Corps,” said New York Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “The hearts and prayers of the entire Department are with his loved ones and with the families of his fellow service members who lost their lives in service to our nation.”
Sultman leaves behind a wife and three daughters, a former Marine in his platoon revealed to Stars & Stripes.
Friends of Sgt. Hines said he was always upbeat and was a fun person to be around.
“He was all around a great guy with an upbeat attitude who loved the Corps through and through. He never treated you like a subordinate. You were always an equal and friend, Marine veteran and squadmate Sam Belli told Stars & Stripes.
Kyle Moyer, a friend and Marine veteran, said Sgt. Hines and SSgt. Slutman were scheduled to come back to the U.S. in a week and a half.