Christopher Slutman, who was identified as one of the three Marines killed by an IED explosion in Afghanistan, was a man who devoted his life to protecting others. He also served as a New York firefighter.
In fact, Slutman was so devoted to firefighting that he worked as a volunteer firefighter for another department in addition to his job with the New York Fire Department. The married father of three was also serving his country as a Marine Reservist.
Three U.S. service members were killed in the April 2019 blast. The identities of the other two service members killed have not yet been released.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Fire Department Confirmed Slutman’s Death & Says He Was ‘Bravely Serving His Country’
News that Slutman was one of the three Marines killed came first from the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department. He also worked as a firefighter for the New York Fire Department.
“It is with deep regret that the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD), Incorporated announces the tragic passing of Life Member Christopher Slutman (#7194),” the Fire Department’s Chief Oleg Pelekhaty wrote on the department’s website. “A nineteen-year member of the Department, Ladderman Slutman was mortally wounded while bravely serving his country in Afghanistan as a Staff Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps.”
Ladderman Slutman “was also a member of the Fire Department of the City of New York, where he served in the Bronx as a member of Ladder 27,” reported the Kentland Department’s chief.
Gerald Fitzgerald, the president of FDNY’s union Uniformed Firefighters Association, told the New York Post: “A 15-year member of the department, Christopher was a distinguished firefighter who had a profound impact on both of his firehouses, Ladder Companies 27 and 17. Together, all firefighters grieve the loss of our brother, Christopher, who dedicated his life to protecting the people of this city, and our nation.”
2. Slutman Once Received a Medal for Saving a Woman From a Burning House
According to the Kentland Fire Department, Chris Slutman served for 19 years in a variety of positions.
“Joining Company 33 in February, 2000, Chris served the citizens of Landover and Prince George’s County, Maryland valiantly. During his 19-year career he through the ranks to become a Wagon Driver, Captain, but most of all – he was a fireman,” the chief’s post read.
Slutman performed heroic duties while a firefighter also. Per the New York Daily News, he once saved “an unconscious woman from a burning Bronx apartment.”
“Typical of Chris’ dedication to service, as a member of the FDNY, Chris received the Fire Chiefs Association Memorial Medal for his heroic actions on a multiple alarm taxpayer fire in July, 2013,” says the Kentland statement.
3. Slutman Was a Married Father Described as Displaying ‘Moral Character’ Daily
Christopher Slutman leaves behind a family. His Facebook page shows him wearing a firefighter’s uniform and holding two small girls, one in each arm. His wife Shannon’s Facebook page is filled with photos of Slutman and his family, including three small children. Her top visible post has a filter with a blue line that reads, “I stand behind the heroes that protect this line.”
“Through this trying time, we will remember Chris for the father, husband, brother, son, and friend that he was, the moral character he displayed daily, and the courage and conviction to serve his fellow Americans, both at home and abroad,” wrote Kentland FD.
“We ask for your thoughts and prayers for his firehouse brothers, his fellow Marines, his friends – but most of all, his family.”
The NY Police and Fire Widows’& Children’s Benefit Fund, also known as Answer the Call, wrote Heavy that it “will provide Firefighter Slutman’s widow with $25,000 to assist her with immediate expenses. In addition to this initial support, Answer the Call will then continue to provide his family with ongoing support and hopes to raise enough funds to provide his widow with annual financial assistance each year for the rest of her life.” To learn more or to donate you can go here.
4. The Taliban Has Claimed Responsibility for the Attack
The blast occurred near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. According to the Military Times, the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which appears to have occurred in a vehicle carrying an IED.
“My heartfelt prayers to the families of the Americans killed near Bagram,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote. “I condemn this disgusting terrorist act. U.S. service members have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan to keep us safe and no cowardly act of terror will impede our efforts to achieve peace.”
Earlier reports that an American contractor was also killed proved incorrect. “We feel and mourn the loss of these Americans with their families and loved ones. They volunteered to protect their country. We will continue our mission,” said Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of Resolute Support and USFOR-A, to The Military Times.
5. Tributes Flooded Social Media for Christopher Slutman
Christopher Slutman’s sacrifice was noted by many people on social media. “Chris, thank you for your unselfish service and for paying the ultimate price for your fellow man. May you rest in peace. Thoughts and prayers to your brothers and members in the FDNY and Kentland 33,” wrote one woman on the Kentland post.
“Brothers and sisters I am truly sorry for your loss. He passed as a hero fighting for his country. Prayers to all if you, family and friends,” wrote a man. Another person called Slutman a “true patriot.”
Another comment writer said, “Praying for you all. Chris was larger than life, and was the right, to so much wrong in this world. RIP Fireman, Marine, husband, father, and friend to so many.”