Major Robert Marchanti killed in Afghanistan
The U.S. military has released the name of the second officer shot to death Saturday at the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul.
He is Army Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II, 48, of Baltimore. On Sunday the Pentagon released the name of the other officer: Air Force Lt. Col. John D. Loftis, 44, of Paducah, Ky. He was assigned to the 866th Air Expeditionary Squadron in Kabul.
“My father has been my idol and he he's been my hero,” says Marchanti’s son Aaron. “I grew up trying to be just like him and I hope and pray that I can be even fifty percent of what that man was.”
Navy Capt. John Kirby, spokesman for the U.S.-led international military coalition in Afghanistan, said Monday that the gunman was still at large and that authorities are undertaking an "active search" to find him.
Almost immediately after the shootings, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, withdrew all coalition advisers from Afghan ministries. Kirby said Allen is not yet ready to send them back.
“If more fathers could be like he was, I feel like this would be a better place - with men like him,” says Leah Marchanti, Marchanti’s daughter.
The Air Force says Monday that Marchanti's body is being returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware The Baltimore Sun reports Marchanti taught physical education at several schools in Baltimore County. Most recently, he taught at Carney Elementary School. He was known as a rabid Ravens fan too.
He was on his first one-year tour in Afghanistan and was scheduled to return in September.
"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," said Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley in a statement. "On behalf of all Marylanders, I'd like to extend our most sincere condolences. Our thoughts are with the Marchanti family at this time."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.