Lesbian US Officer Adrianna Vorderbruggen killed in Afghanistan


Yesterday a suicide bomber killed six American soldiers in Afghanistan, including out lesbian US Air Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen. Adrianna was one of the first openly gay service members to be married following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2012, and the first openly lesbian service members to be killed in action. She leaves behind wife Heather Lamb and their son, Jacob.

AdriannaVorderbruggenAir Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen and Heather Lamb via Military Partners and Families Coalition

Adrianna and five others were killed at a base in Bagram, about 25 miles north of Kabul, when a man on a motorbike struck their patrol, detonating his bomb.

“Our consolation is, we know she wanted to be there, she believed in and loved her work, and she was doing important work on behalf of the Afghans and our nation,” her wife shared with NBC News. “She has always been my hero, never more so than now.”


The Militaries Partners and Families Coalition released a statement about Adrianna’s passing as well, saying, “As today marks five years since the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] was signed, we honor the anniversary with somber hearts and the knowledge that families like Major Vorderbruggen’s no longer serve in the shadows. 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.”

In 2013, Heather’s mother wrote a piece for 3200 stories about her daughter being married to an officer, called “The Case for Empathy.”

My daughter is now married to an Air Force officer.  Two years ago when Heather was giving birth to my grandson, her wife (then her partner) had to lie to request leave to help “a friend” who was having a baby.  Adrianna couldn’t share their good news, because if she had, her career could have been destroyed.  Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed in September 2011, and the Supreme Court will rule sometime within the next few weeks on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8(gay marriage) and DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

I have a photo in my cubicle of two women walking on the beach with a little boy in a striped shirt between them.  Their backs are to the camera.  The evening shadows stretch past them, towards the water.  You can see from their ruffled hair that there is a light breeze blowing.  Those women could be anyone.  They could be strangers; they could be your sisters; your friends; or your neighbors.  In fact, they are my dearly beloved daughter, grandson and daughter-in-law.

Rest in peace, Adrianna. Thank you for everything.

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