Three Pa. National Guardsmen killed in Afghanistan

    In the largest loss the Pennsylvania National Guard has experienced since 2005, three members were killed as a result of a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan.

    Sgt. Edward Koehler, 47, of Lebanon, Sgt. Brian Mowery, 49, of Halifax, and Staff Sgt. Kenneth VanGiesen, 30, of McKean County died early Monday morning.

    They were deployed with the 131st Transportation Company, which has been in Afghanistan since January.

    “You know, looking at these three soldiers–even for someone who didn’t know them personally–you can just look at the records of these three soldiers and it’s very clear that we have sustained a very large loss as a result of these soldiers being killed,” said Sgt. Matt Jones of the Pennsylvania National Guard

    Jones says the last time Pennsylvania’s National Guard experienced a personnel loss of this magnitude was 2005, when separate incidents in Iraq claimed the lives of 10 soldiers.

    Five other soldiers were wounded in Monday’s attack.

    There are about 170 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen in the 131st, based in Dauphin County and Philadelphia.

    It is the unit’s second deployment to Afghanistan, although individual members have mobilized as many as four times.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.