A United States Marine with ties to Maine has been killed in Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe identified the soldier as Marine Corps Sgt. Kevin Brian Balduf, who Snowe said was married to a woman from Richmond, Maine.

Snowe could not elaborate further, and attempts to find someone in Richmond who knew him were unsuccessful.

But, Major General John W. Libby of the Maine National Guard said Balduf’s wife contacted his agency on Sunday to request chaplain support services.

Libby said the woman – he does not know her name – left the state for Camp Lejeune, N.C., which is where Balduf was stationed.

The Department of Defense, on its website, said that Balduf, whose current address is listed as Nashville, Tenn., was killed during combat operations on May 12 while serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The 27-year-old Marine was serving in Afghanistan as a member of the 8th Communication Battalion Marine Headquarters Group, which is based out of Camp Lejeune.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of Sgt. Balduf, who tragically gave his life defending our nation with limitless courage,” Snowe said in a statement. “Indeed, his heroic service to the values we hold most dear, in the most demanding of environments and at such prolonged personal risk and peril, makes words difficult to find. I offer my heartfelt sympathies as we honor the solemn memory of this fallen soldier, who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of us all.”

The Department of Defense said Balduf and Lt. Col. Benjamin J. Palmer, 43, of Modesto, Calif. were killed in the May 12 military action.

“This incident is currently under investigation,” the DOD said.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]