Clockwise from left: Special Agent Joseph M. Peters, Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson (Military Times)
(WXIA) -- Two soldiers stationed at Fort Benning were among four killed by a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan on Sunday, Defense Department officials said.
Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore., were assigned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga.
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Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo., was a special agent assigned to the 5th Military Police Battalion, Vicenza, Italy; and 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, Calif., a nurse assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. She was with an Army Special Operations Command cultural support.
Col. Christopher S. Vanek, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, called Hawkins a "man of character and commitment" and said Patterson, "had a limitless future."
Hawkins was moving to the aid of a fallen comrade when he was killed, Col. Patrick J. Ellis, commander of 3rd Battalion, said in a statement.
"Sgt. Patrick Hawkins was a brave and incredibly talented Ranger," Ellis said. "His actions that night were in keeping with the epitome of the Ranger Creed: 'I will never leave a fallen comrade.' Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hawkins family during this difficult time."
Hawkins had turned 25 five days before he was killed and was on his fourth deployment. He served as a rifleman, gun team leader and Ranger team leader with Company B.
His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the U.S. Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Purple Heart.
He is survived by his wife and parents.
His father, retired Army Lt. Col. Roy Hawkins, told the Patriot-News, that he and his wife never expected their son Patrick would join the Army.
But Hawkins followed in the footsteps of his father, who retired from the U.S. Army War College after 30 years in the service in 2008 - and his parents supported him in the decision.
"He sort of got motivated to join the service. It was sort of a surprise," Roy told the Patriot-News. "Of course, we supported Patrick in his decision."
"Pfc. Cody Patterson was the poster child for the Ranger Regiment," Ellis said of the rifleman, who was killed on his second deployment to Afghanistan.
"He was courageous and dedicated and lost his life while fighting tenaciously against our nation's enemies alongside his fellow Rangers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Patterson family."
Patterson's awards and decorations include the Parachutist Badge and the Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Purple Heart.
Patterson is survived by his parents, and a sister, all in Philomath, Ore.
A Facebook page was established to support the family. It notes that Peters was expected to leave Afghanistan in two weeks.
"Today Oct 6, a amazing momma was told her husband was killed in action, just two weeks before he was scheduled to come home," the site says. "We ask that you join us in remembering her husband, a hero and help raise funds to help Ashley and her son Gabriel, just get by day-to-day, whether it be for food, bills, anything to help with any financial burden that may arise after such a tragic loss."
(Military Times contributed to this report.)