Army National Guard Corporal Ciara Durkin was found dead on Sept 27 with a single gunshot wound to the head on Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The 30-year-old resident of Quincy, Massachusetts, who was born in Ireland, served in a desk position with the payroll unit, and was open about her lesbian identity.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says Durkin may be the first openly gay solider killed in the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Family members and advocates insist that her sexual orientation should be considered in the investigation of her death, although currently there is no evidence that it was a hate crime.
Reports from the Pentagon, according to CBS News, first said that Durkin had been killed in action, but were revised to read that she had died because of a non-combat related incident. Weeks before her death, she had warned her family that she had made enemies because of things she discovered in her finance work in Afghanistan.
Durkin, an active member of Boston’s gay community, planned to marry her longtime girlfriend when she returned from Afghanistan. Her younger brother, Pierce, is a board member of Boston Pride.