Violent anti-American protests sweeping Afghanistan have resulted in the deaths of two U.S. military advisers to NATO, including 48-year-old Maj. Robert Marchanti—a former teacher with Baltimore County Public Schools.
The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Marchanti's death on Monday afternoon.
On Sunday afternoon the Department of Defense confirmed the death of another officer, Air Force Lt. Col. John D. Loftis, 44, of Paducah, KY.
The violence in Afghanistan has been linked to an incident last week in which U.S. military personnel burned copies of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, outside a base in Bagram.
Local media reported earlier on Monday that Marchanti, who was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division Security Partnering Team of the Maryland Army National Guard, taught physical education at schools in Baltimore County.
A Baltimore County Public Schools spokesman, Charles Herndon, confirmed that Marchanti worked for the school system from 1990 until 2008. During that time he taught at , Victory Villa Elementary School, the , , and .
Marchanti's body will return home Monday evening in a dignified transfer ceremony held at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, DE.
“Through Maj. Marchanti’s service and sacrifice, we are reminded of the brave men and women who risk their lives every day protecting our freedom and safeguarding the people of our of State and our nation. On behalf of all Marylanders, I’d like to extend our most sincere condolences. Our thoughts are with the Marchanti family at this time," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement to the media.
The full text of a press release sent to the media by the Maryland National Guard follows:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Maryland National
Guard Soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Maj. Robert Marchanti, 48, of Baltimore, Md., died Feb. 25 in Kabul
Afghanistan, of wounds received during an attack on the Afghan Interior
Ministry. He was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division Security Partnering
Team of the Maryland Army National Guard.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Marchanti family during this most
difficult time," said Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, the adjutant general. "It
is impossible for most of us to understand the emotional turmoil they must
be going through. The loss of one of our own is always very difficult, and
very little can be said to ease the pain, but we will always remember Maj.
Marchanti's dedication to our nation as we honor his service and sacrifice."
Marchanti joined the Active duty Army in 1984 before joining the Maryland
National Guard in 1986. He worked full-time for the Maryland National Guard
in the Construction and Facilities Management Office at the 5th Regiment
Armory in Baltimore. He was married and had four children and one grandson.
Maj. Marchanti is the twelfth Maryland Army National Guardsman to lose his
life in the Global War on Terror. Since 9/11, nearly 10,400 Maryland
National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been called to support various
mobilizations including Operations in Iraq Afghanistan and the relief
efforts for multiple hurricanes and snow storms.