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A look at the eight U.S. service members, contractor killed in Kabul

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -- Eight American service members and an American contractor were killed by an Afghan pilot earlier this week in a shooting at an airport in Kabul. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan has said the military pilot opened fire on the troops, sparking a gunfight on Wednesday. An investigation into the shooting is under way.

These are the nine people killed in the attack.

Maj. Philip D. Ambard

Maj. Philip D. Ambard, 44, was from Edmonds, Washington. He was assigned to the 460th Space Communications Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, according to defense officials.

Ambard had been the Department of Foreign Languages executive officer and later served in that same role for the Dean of the Faculty, the U.S. Air Force Academy said in a statement.

In 2007, he was sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages for a Ph.D. program at Denver University, which he completed in 2010 and was scheduled to return to the Department of Foreign Languages after a deployment in Kabul.

"He was ready to do what he had to do (in Afghanistan) and he was excited upon returning to be able to get back into the classroom to do what he loved to do, and that's develop these cadets," said Brig. Gen. Dana Born, Dean of the Faculty.

"He felt as though he'd been given an opportunity and you could see that in his eye every single day. He valued the freedoms he had in this country and he defended those freedoms. He had an attitude of, 'I'm going to give it my all.' And he gave it his all."

Ambard grew up in Venezuela and had worked as a translator in France, the academy said. He is survived by his wife and five children.

Maj. Raymond G. Estelle II

Maj. Raymond G. Estelle II, 40, had served 19 years with the Air Force and was assigned to Headquarters Air Combat Command. He was from New Haven, Connecticut.

"Maj. Estelle was an extraordinary airman and invaluable member of our team. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family for the loss we all share," said Tom Entwistle, director of ACC's Directorate of Analyses, Lessons Learned and Air Force Smart Operations 21.

His home state of Connecticut lowered flags to half-staff.

"Connecticut has lost another brave and honorable service member, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Maj. Estelle," Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement. "We are also thinking of those in Maj. Estelle's unit, and all of our men and women in uniform serving this country at this difficult time. We wish them all a safe and speedy return home to their families."

Steven Estelle told WTNH-TV that he is proud of his fallen brother, calling him a dedicated father and deeply religious.

"It makes me want to be a better father to my children and tell them about their uncle and how he died a hero," he told the station.

Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn

Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn, 41, was assigned to the 99th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, according to defense officials.

He was a 19-year Air Force veteran and a native of Gadsden, Alabama, said a statement from the base.

According to his wife, Suzanna Ausborn, he volunteered last year to go to Afghanistan and teach new Afghan pilots how to fly the C-27 aircraft, said the statement.

"He was the most compassionate, kind, patient and understanding husband, father, pilot and supervisor," she said. "He was a great communicator, we talked nearly every day -- that's how I knew something was wrong, I didn't hear from him. I miss him so much."

Ausborn is survived by his wife and five children.

Maj. David L. Brodeur

Maj. David L. Brodeur, 34, of Auburn, Massachusetts, was assigned to the 11th Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, according to defense officials.

He was deployed as an adviser to the Afghan Command and Control Center under NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan, his spouse, Susan Brodeur, said in a statement.

In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family has asked community members to donate to a college fund for the Brodeur children.

Lt. Col. Frank Bryant

Lt. Col. Frank Bryant was with the 56th Operations Group, Luke Air Force Base, in Arizona.

"We're devastated by the loss of Col. Frank Bryant," said Brig. Gen. Jerry D. Harris Jr., 56th Fighter Wing, commander. "He was an excellent pilot, wingman, and airman. He excelled in everything he did, and gave his life defending the nation he served for 16 years."

He was a star wrestler at Karns High School in Eastern Tennessee before going to the Air Force Academy where he was captain of the team.

His sister, Amie Bryant Whitworth told WVLT in Knoxville, "I may be the older sister by two years, but I have looked up to him my whole life, as our whole family has. He has made us proud."

Bryant, from Knoxville, Tennessee, was 37.

Capt. Charles Ransom

Capt. Charles Ransom was with the 83rd Network Operations Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia and known to his friends, according to a base spokesman, as an avid Dallas Cowboys fan who loved to work on his truck and home repairs.

His squadron commander, Lt. Col. Eric Delange, called Ransom "truly an American airman."

"To borrow some of the words from our creed, Capt. Ransom 'answered our nations call' and literally 'defended his country with his life,'" Delange said. "Now it is up to us to 'never leave him behind.' His spirit lives on in the legacy he has left our squadron."

Ransom, from Midlothian, Virginia, was 31.

Capt. Nathan J. Nylander

Capt. Nathan J. Nylander, 35, of Hockley, Texas, was assigned to the 25th Operational Weather Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, according to defense officials.

Master Sgt. Tara R. Brown

Master Sgt. Tara R. Brown, 33, of Deltona, Florida, was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, according to defense officials.

James A. McLaughlin

A private American contractor, James A. McLaughlin, was a retired Army lieutenant colonel, according to his company, L-3 MPRI. He had served as a mentor on the NATO Air Training Command contract since October 2008, according to the firm.

CNN's Charley Keyes contributed to this report.