Last Updated Dec 22, 2015 11:13 PM EST
WASHINGTON -- Six American service members were killed yesterday by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in what is the worst attack on U.S. forces this year.
The victims are from many different walks of life.
After his first tour of Afghanistan, Detective Joseph Lemm made it home to surprise his wife and children.
But his second tour came to a tragic end this week. He was among the six U.S. service members killed by a Taliban suicide bomber who drove a motorcycle packed with explosives into the American patrol.
Lemm was a 15-year-veteran of the New York Police Department and a member of the Air National Guard.
Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen was the highest ranking officer killed and one of the first openly gay female U.S. Air Force officers killed in action.
Special agent Peter Taub also lost his life. His mother runs a Washington restaurant and posted a note on the door saying they were closed to "mourn this horrible loss."
A regular customer, Vivienne Ramgeet, left a teddy bear and a Christmas tree at the front door.
"I'm grieving for my friends, and I'm truly devastated," Ramgeet said.
The three other airmen killed were Michael Cinco, Chester McBride and Louis Bonacasa.
Only a day after the American ambush, U.S. and British soldiers went to the aid of the struggling Afghan army, trying to hold off the Taliban takeover of a crucial southern province.
The Taliban has been gaining strength ever since the end of the U.S. combat mission and ensuing drawdown.
Today, the Taliban released a photograph of the bomber they claimed had attacked the Americans.
Tonight, the Pentagon officially released the names of the fallen.
Families of the soldiers killed in action received the news right before Christmas, and only a few months after President Obama's decision to extend the longest war in American history.