Five men of different ages, who all hailed from different states, shared a powerful common bond that no terrorist could ever break. They all put on uniforms to protect the United States and Afghanistan from a violent ideology that seeks to murder anyone in its path, including women and children.
Tonight, the Pentagon has identified the five shining American stars who were tragically killed Tuesday in Kabul, Afghanistan. As we mourn this senseless attack, which killed another coalition soldier along with more than a dozen civilians, our resolve to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban must remain strong. We cannot forget what 19 terrorists, all of whom received orders from fanatics harbored by the Taliban, did to innocent people in our cities in 2001. Our nation received reminders on Christmas and earlier this month, when a Taliban-backed terrorist tried to kill New Yorkers and tourists in Times Square.
Because of the five brave Americans listed below, who died together as distinguished heroes in the country where al Qaeda has repeatedly plotted to strike our homeland, we can kiss our loved ones and sleep tonight in relative peace. I only wish these five military families could too.
Col. John McHugh, 46, New Jersey
Lt. Col. Paul Bartz, 43, Waterloo, Wisconsin
Lt. Col. Thomas Belkofer, 44, Perrysburg, Ohio
Staff Sgt. Richard Tieman, 28, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
Spc. Joshua Tomlinson, 24, Dubberly, Louisiana