MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A woman who grew up in the Twin Cities was one of six U.S. military members killed Monday in Afghanistan.
Air Force Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen, originally from Plymouth, was killed when a suicide bomber drove a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint NATO-Afghan patrol near Bagram Airfield.
Vorderbruggen, who leaves behind a wife and a young son, was the highest-ranking officer killed in the attack.
She was a student at Wayzata High School 20 years ago with Brooke Jacobson, her friend.
“Adrianna she loved life and she loved to laugh, and that’s a lot of my memories are just laughing hysterically with her,” Jacobson said.
Vorderbruggen and Jacobson maintained their friendship over the years. The last time she saw her was last summer, just before she was deployed to Afghanistan.
“Adrianna was so proud to serve in the military and to serve her country, and she loved doing it,” Jacobson said. “You knew she was having a good time.”
Jacobson says Vorderbruggen met her wife, Heather, when they crossed paths serving in the Air Force.
The two joined the effort to repeal the ban on gays openly serving in the military while they were living in Washington, D.C. They became parents four years ago.
“She didn’t realize that she would love [being a parent] as much as she did,” Jacobson said. “She loved little Jacob.”
Vorderbruggen’s brother, Christopher, says his sister had a leadership role in protecting the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
“She intentionally would go on these patrols with her men because she wanted to show them that she would do what she was asking them to do,” Christopher Vorderbruggen said.
She is believed to be the first openly-gay American woman killed in action.
A memorial ceremony was held Wednesday in Afghanistan for her and her fallen comrades.
“She inspired us all I think by just being herself, and being proud to be who she was,” Vorderbruggen said.
She graduated from Wayzata High School before entering the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
Her father, her wife and son were in Dover, Delaware Wednesday, waiting for her body to be flown back to the United States.
Click here to read more about Vorderbruggen’s life on Military Partners and Families Coalition’s Facebook page.