Not long after the U.S. military repealed its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Air Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen married her longtime partner, becoming one of the first American service members to be wed in a same-sex ceremony.
On Monday, nearly five years to the day after the repeal was signed into law, the trailblazing officer was killed along with five other Air Force service members in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan, NBC News reported.
Vorderbruggen was the first openly gay American female officer killed in combat.
Family members confirmed the identities of the others: a reservist on leave from his job as a New York City police detective, an officer whose parents own a Washington, D.C., restaurant, a former high school football star from Georgia, a young father who dreamed as a boy of enlisting, and a married man from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
Vorderbruggen was the third female member of the Air Force to die in Afghanistan, following two killed in helicopter accidents in October.
Vorderbruggen and the other victims were part of a convoy of Western and Afghan troops on a routine security detail Monday outside Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul, when a man drove up on a motorcycle and detonated a suicide vest, officials said.