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From left, Capt. Nicholas Rozanski, Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Hannon and Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Rieck were members of the same Columbus, Ohio-based National Guard unit killed Wednesday in a suicide bombing attack in Faryab province, Afghanistan. (Photos courtesy Ohio National Guard via AP)
This undated family photo shows Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Hannon, 44, of Grove City, Ohio. Hannon was one of three soldiers killed in a suicide attack Wednesday in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Hannon family via AP)
Three soldiers killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan on Wednesday were members of the Ohio National Guard, the Defense Department announced Friday.
• Capt. Nicholas J. Rozanski, 36, of Dublin, Ohio.
• Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey J. Rieck, 45, of Columbus, Ohio
• Sgt. 1st Class Shawn T. Hannon, 44, of Grove City, Ohio
The three guardsmen were killed in the relatively peaceful Faryab province in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, but the bomber's target was unclear, according to the Associated Press.
They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Ohio National Guard in Walbridge, Ohio. The brigade is based in Columbus but includes soldiers from across Ohio, the Ohio National Guard said.
Wounded were 1st Lt. Christopher Rosebrock of Hicksville, Ohio; Spc. Austin Weigle of Bryan, Ohio; Cpl. Everett Haworth of Olmsted Township, Ohio; and Pfc. Jacob Williams of Somerville, Ohio.
A father of two girls, Rozanski worked for the Defense Logistics Agency at Defense Supply Center Columbus.
Rozanski's wife told the Columbus Dispatch that a family military history compelled him to join the Guard since 2003. He had deployed to Kosovo in 2004 and to Iraq in 2008.
"He did what he needed to do and what he signed up to do," she told WCMH-TV. "I want him to be remembered as a hero and that he was a great leader in the National Guard and he cared about his soldiers," she said.
Alex Rozanski, the brother of Nicholas Rozanski, told WBNS-TV in Columbus that his brother "loved being in the National Guard" and "loved being a leader of soldiers."
Rozanski said Americans going on with day-to-day lives shouldn't forget the troops. "These just become fading, brief headlines. But no, we are a nation at war, and men are dying on a regular basis over there. And people need to remember that," he said.
Hannon's family said he felt it was a privilege to serve his country and was proud to be a soldier, a job he did nearly 20 years while also working as a lawyer.
Hannon, chief legal counsel for the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs, joined the state veterans agency last year after working for a Columbus law firm. Survivors include wife and their 9-month-old son.
Hannon was a graduate of Capital University law school in Columbus and had been a lawyer for six years.
"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."
Rieck, the father of a 15-year-old son, had served in the Army and was in Iraq for longer than a year before heading to Afghanistan. He worked full time in the Guard's Family Readiness office.
Friend Nicole Kraft, an Ohio State University journalism professor, said Rieck was "one of those people who really believed in what he was doing."
"He was all about being an American and doing his part," she told The Dispatch. "He really felt it was a role for which he was — perhaps it's too strong a word — destined."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday ordered flags at the Capitol and other state facilities in central Ohio to be flown at half-staff on Monday in honor of the guardsmen. The governor also offered his condolences to the soldiers' families and friends.
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 yearlong deployment.
It was the largest mobilization for the 37th since the Korean War, according to the 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.
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.