April 5, 2012
COLUMBUS — Three U.S. soldiers killed in a suicide attack this week in Afghanistan were from Ohio, as were several others seriously wounded in the bombing, the Ohio National Guard said Thursday.
The soldiers killed in the attack Wednesday in Maimanah, the capital of Faryab province, were from the Guard’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, according to the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department.
The brigade is based in Columbus but includes soldiers from across Ohio, the Guard said.
Among the victims was Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Hannon, 44, who also worked as chief legal counsel for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
“Shawn felt it was a privilege to serve his country and did so honorably for almost 20 years. He was proud to be a soldier and all who loved him knew it,” his family said in a statement released to media. Survivors include wife and their 9-month-old son.
Hannon joined the state veterans agency last year after working for a Columbus law firm.
“He was one of the most well respected guys I ever met,” said Steve Palmer, a lawyer who worked with Hannon. “If somebody in the world needed help, he’d be there. He believed in what he was doing over there.”
The attack, by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle, killed at least 13 people Wednesday at a park in a relatively peaceful area of northern Afghanistan. It was part of an increase in violence at the start of the spring fighting season.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility. The bomber’s target was unclear.
The attacks appear to be part of an increase in violence. The Taliban are targeting Afghan and NATO security forces as they fight to assert their power and undermine U.S. efforts to try to build up the Afghan military.
This week, gunmen also attacked an outpost of a government-sponsored militia and killed 10 members of the security force, and another suicide bomber killed two people and wounded 16 others Thursday.
The Ohio infantry brigade has six battalions, with four based in Ohio and two in Michigan. It sent 3,600 soldiers to Afghanistan last summer for what was scheduled to be a year-long deployment.
It was the largest mobilization for the 37th since the Korean War, according to the Ohio National Guard. The soldiers were sent to help with counter-insurgency operations and work with Afghan security forces.
In 2005, Lima Company, a Columbus-based Marine reserve unit, lost 22 Marines and a Navy Corpsman in Iraq, including nine in one bombing. Fifteen of the 23 were from Ohio.
The names of the other dead soldiers had not been released; the Guard said it was still notifying family members.
Another Ohio soldier was killed this week by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Brown, 26, of Columbus, died Tuesday, the Department of Defense said Thursday. Brown was serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, after spending nearly year in Iraq.