One of the three U.S. service members who died this week following a suicide bombing in Afghanistan – each of whom officials revealed to Fox News on Tuesday were Marines – is a longtime New York City and volunteer firefighter known by his superiors for his “courage and conviction to serve his fellow Americans, both at home and abroad.”
Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman was identified Tuesday as one of those killed in yesterday’s Taliban-claimed attack near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife and three young daughters.
“Through this trying time, we will remember Chris for the father, husband, brother, son, and friend that he was, the moral character he displayed daily, and the courage and conviction to serve his fellow Americans, both at home and abroad,” Chief Oleg Pelekhaty of Landover, Maryland’s Kentland Volunteer Fire Department – where Slutman also served for 19 years – posted on Facebook.
“We ask for your thoughts and prayers for his firehouse brothers, his fellow Marines, his friends – but most of all, his family,” Pelekhaty added, noting that Slutman first joined the department in 2000 and rose through its ranks to become a captain and life member.
During his 15-year career in New York City, Slutman was honored for bravery after pulling an unconscious woman out of a burning apartment in the Bronx borough, the FDNY said Tuesday in a statement obtained by Fox News.
“This unquestionably is an example of the measure of this man,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Christopher Slutman is an American hero, a New York hero, and we mourn his loss today.”
Slutman is the 1,152nd member of the department to “make the Supreme Sacrifice in the line-of-duty,” the FDNY added, and the fourth to die while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since U.S. military operations began there in 2003.
“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,” added Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro.
Union president Gerard Fitzgerald also called Slutman a “distinguished firefighter who had a profound impact on both of his firehouses, Ladder Companies 27 and 17.”
“Together, all firefighters grieve the loss of our brother, Christopher, who dedicated his life to protecting the people of this city, and our nation,” the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York leader said.
U.S. officials told Fox News on Tuesday that all three servicemembers who died in the attack and all three that were wounded were Marines. An Afghan contractor previously believed to have been killed in the same blast is actually alive, they added, and has been undergoing treatment at Bagram Airfield.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the suicide bombing Monday as a “disgusting terrorist act.
“U.S. service members have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan to keep us safe and no cowardly act of terror will impede our efforts to achieve peace,” he said in a tweet.
The identities of the other two deceased Marines, as of midday Tuesday, have not yet been released.
There are an estimated 14,000 American troops currently serving in Afghanistan.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.