Three members of the Pennsylvania National Guard were killed after an improvised explosive device detonated in Afghanistan Monday.
Guard officials identified the dead soldiers as 47-year-old Sgt. Edward Koehler, of Lebanon; 49-year-old Sgt. Brian Mowery, of Halifax; and 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Kenneth VanGiesen, of Kane.
All three men were members of the 131st Transportation Company based in Williamstown and Philadelphia. Five other soldiers in the unit were wounded in the blast outside Bagram.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Koehler, Mowery and VanGiesen were all riding in the same vehicle when the device exploded, striking their convoy.
Gov. Tom Corbett said his thoughts and prayers are with the soldiers' families.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these brave young men who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of this country,” said Corbett. “This tragic incident is a stark reminder of the dangers our troops face on a daily basis for the cause of freedom. We owe them our respect, our support and our gratitude.”
A total of 39 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of military operations in those countries.
Fan, follow and download: Get the latest from NBCPhiladelphia.com anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and NBC Philadelphia. Sign up for our breaking news newsletter. And, get breaking news delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text PHIBREAKING to 639710 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.)