A married lesbian soldier and two others were killed in a Taliban suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan this week.
US Army Staff Sergeant Donna Johnson was murdered when a man riding a motorcycle packed with explosives rammed into a group of soldiers on patrol in Khost on Monday (1 October).
The suicide bomber was identified as a member of the Taliban, the Associated Press reports.
The 29-year-old, as well as Jeremy Hardison, 23, and Thomas Butler, 25, were killed shortly after they got out of their armored vehicles to walk through a market area in the eastern Afghanistan city.
According to the wire service, a translator, four local police officers and six civilians were killed, and three US soldiers and 60 Afghan civilians were wounded.
A member of the North Carolina guard, Johnson leaves behind her wife, Tracy Dice.
The American Military Partner Association said: ‘In days to come, the American Military Partner Association will be sharing more of the story of Donna and Tracy and their commitment to each other and our nation.
‘We ask for your continued thoughts, prayers and privacy for Tracy and her family during this difficult time.’
Johnson and Dice had been a couple for seven years, long before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed, but kept their relationship secret for fear of being dishonorably discharged.
In an interview with ABC News, her mother Sandra said: ‘We had a bad feeling this time. It was her second tour of duty. So, we had a bad feeling on this one. My husband and I tried to talk her out of it.
‘It was something she had to do because it was her job and it was her calling.
‘She is a national hero.’
Johnson’s funeral will be held next week, where she will be buried with full military honors.