Thursday Sep 25, 2008 6:30:26 EDT
A 22-year-old sailor and an Air Force officer were among the more than 50 people killed in Saturday’s suicide bombing at a luxury hotel popular with foreigners in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Cryptologic Technician 3rd Class (Maintenance) Matthew J. O’Bryant, 22, of Duluth, Ga., was killed at the Marriott Hotel, according to the Defense Department. O’Bryant was assigned to Navy Information Operations Command Maryland at Fort Meade.
Lt. Cmdr. Doug Gabos, spokesman for Navy Network Warfare Command on Little Creek, said O’Bryant had been in Pakistan for two months on temporary assignment to the Office of the Defense Representative, Pakistan, headed by Rear Adm. Michael LeFever. It is not clear if O’Bryant was living at the hotel while on assignment and how long he was to be in Pakistan.
Cryptologic Technicians with a maintenance specialty install and repair computer and network systems.
LeFever’s posting to Pakistan follows an earlier stay following the 2005 earthquake there when he went ashore as the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 1 and ran the U.S. contributions to the disaster relief effort.
Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriquez, 34, of El Paso, Texas, also was killed from injuries sustained in the bombing, according to DoD. Rodriquez served with the 86th Construction and Training Squadron based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
“He was in the area assisting with the training of Pakistani forces,” said Ramstein spokesman Aaron Schoenfeld.
The deaths led to confusion after scores of news agencies reported Monday that the two dead U.S. service members were Marines. Some publications reported the bombing was targeting Marines, although a spokesman for the Corps said no Marines were killed in the attack. A suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the upscale hotel on Saturday, killing at least 53 and injuring more than 200. The hotel is one of the primary meeting points for foreigners in Pakistan.
In a country accustomed to a rash of suicide bombings in the past several years, the toll of the blast had commentators referring to it as Pakistan’s 9/11.