Pioneer lesbian soldier killed in Afghanistan

A woman killed by a suicide bomber during a military deployment in Afghanistan on Monday had recently moved to the Bay Area with her wife and son.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen, 36, was killed along with five other U.S. military personnel by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on Dec. 21.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement:

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of these brave Americans who died in service to this vital mission, and our thoughts remain with all of our troops serving overseas during this holiday season so that we may have peace and security at home.”

Originally from Plymouth, Minnesota, Vorderbruggen had been living with her wife, Heather Lamb, and son, Jacob, in Florida.

They recently moved to San Rafael to live with Lamb’s mother just before Vorderbruggen was deployed to Afghanistan, according to the Military Partners and Families Coalition, an organization providing support to families of LGBT service members.

Vorderbruggen was one of the first gay people in the U.S. military to have her marriage legally recognized when the country’s controversial “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was repealed five years ago. She celebrated by signing her family up for military benefits, according to the coalition.

A statement on the coalition’s Facebook page said:

“We can take small comfort in the fact that they will be extended the same rights and protections due any American military family as they move through this incredibly difficult period in their lives. … She was one of the most friendly and laid-back people you could ever hope to meet and was an accomplished airman, a great athlete, and most of all, a wonderful mom,”

The statement added:

“She leaves an indelible legacy of strength and selflessness to all those touched by her life.”

Vorderbruggen had been with the Air Force since enrolling in the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1998. She earned a master’s degree in forensic sciences from Georgetown University in 2010 and worked as a forensic science consultant with the Air Force, according to her LinkedIn page.