UPDATED 3:37 PM PT – Saturday, August 28, 2021
Loved ones have been honoring and remembering the American troops that were killed during an ISIS-K suicide bombing at the Kabul airport. On Saturday, the Department of Defense identified all 13 service members who died in the attack.
Officials said among those killed included 11 Marines, one Army soldier and a Navy corpsman. The father of Utah native Darin Hoover Jr. said he loved his family and loved his country as they flew several U.S. flags outside their home to honor the 31-year-old Marine.
“Best kid in the world, couldn’t ask for any better. Loved his family. His sisters absolutely adore him,” he expressed. “He was doing for others what they couldn’t do for themselves and he made the ultimate sacrifice doing that.”
Today, the @DeptofDefense announced the deaths of 13 service members who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. They died Aug. 26, 2021, as the result of an enemy attack while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations in Kabul, #Afghanistan.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) August 28, 2021
In Southern California, the city of Norco lowered their veteran memorial flag to half-staff as they mourned the loss of 20-year-old resident Kareem Nikoui.
“When one of our own goes down, we turn out. That’s what we do,” stated Mayor Kavin Bash of Norco. “…Everything now is about making sure that family knows that they’re loved in this community, that we care for them and we will not forget him.”
David Espinoza, a resident of Laredo, Texas, was 20-years-old when he died. His family said he always wanted to serve his country and added that while it was hard, they were proud of him.
“He was a great kid. We never had trouble with him, nothing. He never got in trouble,” his stepfather David Espinoza mentioned. “He was a great guy, a great guy, very proud of him.”
Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) released a statement, in which he said Espinoza embodied the values of America and joined the military with the intention of protecting the nation and demonstrating selfless acts of service.
I mourn him and all the fallen heroes in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to the Espinoza family in this extremely difficult time. The brave never die. Mr. Espinoza is a hero.
— Rep. Henry Cuellar (@RepCuellar) August 27, 2021
The other fallen Marines named by the Defense Department were California residents Dylan Merola, Hunter Lopez and Nicole L. Gee along with Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Massachusetts, Daegan Page of Nebraska, Rylee McCollum of Wyoming, Jared Schmitz of Missouri and Humberto Sanchez of Indiana. The Navy Sailor killed in the attack was identified as Maxton Soviak of California, while the deceased Army soldier was named as Ryan Knauss of Tennessee.
A Pentagon spokesman said the remains of the U.S. service members are expected to be transported to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
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