As of Wednesday morning, 15 wounded Marines were receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, following an Aug. 26 bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“Of those, one is in critical condition, three are in serious condition and 11 are in stable condition,” Maj. James Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Marine Corps Times in a written statement Wednesday evening.
The bombing resulted in the deaths of 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman and one soldier, along with the deaths of nearly 200 Afghans. It was reported that 18 U.S. service members were wounded in the attack ― which still leaves three not mentioned here.
The Marines were processing Afghans through the airport gate when a suicide bomber carrying about 25 pounds of explosives approached the service members, The Associated Press reported.
The names of the dead Marines are: Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, out of Camp Pendleton, California; Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, with 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Naval Support Activity Bahrain; Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit; Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, with 2/1; Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, with 2/1; Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, with 2/1; Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, with 2/1; Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, with 2/1; Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, with 2/1; Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, with 2/1; and Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, with 2/1.
Also killed were Navy corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California, and soldier Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, assigned to 9th PSYOP Battalion, 8th PSYOP Group, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan Province, also known as ISIS-K.
More than 2,000 Marines were rushed to Kabul, Afghanistan, in mid-August as the Taliban quickly conquered the nation in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal.
The Marines came from Task Force 51/5, stationed in Bahrain, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force–Crisis Response–Central Command and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which had its deployment extended to loiter in the region in case the evacuation was necessary.
Marines from all three units were killed in the bombing.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black visited “many” of the Marines in the hospital on both Monday and Tuesday, Stenger told Marine Corps Times.
As a matter of policy, the Marine Corps will not release the names of the wounded, Stenger noted.
GoFundMe pages have been set up for at least two of the Marines injured in the attack.
“Sergeant Vargas-Andrews is a warrior,” one of the pages noted. “He’s our brother. He’s a son. He’s a United States Marine that willingly almost paid the ultimate sacrifice so that others too may have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Vargas-Andrews was part of a scout sniper team with 2/1 when he was severely wounded, the GoFundMe page said. The page noted that he was in stable condition.
The second page was for Cpl. Kelsee Lainhart, a native of Saint Leon, Indiana.
“She entered Boot Camp right after graduation and before she was 18 years old,” the GoFundMe page said. “She was very determined and wanted to train as much as possible.”
“A day before the accident, she said she was sad about anyone that might be left behind. She is truly a selfless person, a complete badass, and a true hero!!”
To show their respect for the Marine, volleyball players from East Central High School, Lainhart’s alma mater, added blue to their tradition red uniforms, ABC Cincinnati reported on Tuesday.
Students and teachers also have started a fundraiser for the wounded Marine, the ABC affiliate reported.
The actions of the Marines, sailors and soldiers defending the airport and processing evacuees helped save more than 120,000 American citizens, allies and at-risk Afghans from a nation ruled by the Taliban.
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