Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen of Plymouth and five fellow service members in her Air Force counter-terrorism unit were mourned at ceremonies in Afghanistan and Delaware Wednesday, two days after they were killed by a suicide bomber's attack.
Military.com reports fellow service members paid their respects in a ceremony at Bagram airfield before the flag-draped coffins arrived at an air base in Dover, where Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was among those on hand.
Military.com says four of those killed while on patrol in Bagram Monday were in the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations and Vorderbruggen was the highest-ranking among them.
Her brother, Christopher, tells WCCO Vorderbruggen took seriously her leadership role at the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan: “She intentionally would go on these patrols with her men because she wanted to show them that she would do what she was asking them to do,” Christopher Vorderbruggen said.
This embed is invalid
Adrianna Vorderbruggen was a 1998 graduate of Wayzata High School, where she still ranks among the all-time leading scorers in the soccer program, her coach tells FOX 9.
The Marin County Independent reports Vorderbruggen's wife and 4-year-old son live in the San Francisco Bay area. Heather Lamb was in Delaware Wednesday to receive her wife's remains, the newspaper says.
A few years ago Lamb's mother, Anne, recounted in an essay that because of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, Vorderbruggen had asked the Air Force for a leave to help "a friend" with the delivery of a baby – knowing that if she acknowledged the friend was her spouse, it would end her military career.
As the New York Times put it Wednesday, for advocates of gay rights in the military Vorderbruggen showed "what it took to quietly endure and ultimately overcome discrimination in the ranks."
But in an email to the Times, Heather Lamb wrote of her wife: "“It is important to us that she be remembered first as an Air Force officer, loving mother, wife, daughter and sister, above all else, not primarily by her sexual orientation.”