Paratroopers killed by suicide bomb in Afghanistan are identified

(INSIDE EDITION) - The two young soldiers who were killed in an Afghanistan suicide bombing this week have been identified.

The Pentagon said Thursday that Sgt. Jonathon Hunter, 23, and Spc. Christopher Harris, 25, were killed near Kandahar on Aug. 2.

Both paratroopers were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Harris was from Jackson Springs, N.C., just an hour's drive from his post.

Col. Toby Magsig, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat team, said the brigade is "deeply saddened" by the loss of Hunter and Harris.

"Spc. Christopher Harris was an extraordinary young man and a phenomenal Paratrooper," Col. Magsig said. "He regularly displayed the type of courage, discipline, and empathy that the Nation expects from its warriors."

Hunter, the son of an Army veteran, hailed from Columbus, Ind.

Both men were on their first deployment.

"He had been there 32 days. I'm former military, me and his uncle both, so we know the dangers," Hunter's father, Mark Hunter, told The Associated Press.

Mr. Hunter said his son had recently gotten married.

"Jonathon loved his unit and serving his country and was excited about the opportunity to go to Afghanistan to do his part in fighting injustice," the family said in a statement.

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana released a statement Thursday.

Donnelly said, "I am saddened to hear that Columbus native, Jonathon Michael Hunter, has been killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. His service and sacrifice in defense of our country will never be forgotten. My prayers and condolences go to his family, friends, fellow soldiers and the entire Columbus community."

The Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.