7 Marines still hospitalized weeks after Kabul airport suicide bombing

Seven Marines wounded in the Aug. 26 suicide bombing outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul were still being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, as of Tuesday evening, a Marine official confirmed.

“Of those, two are in critical but stable condition, five are in serious but stable condition,” Capt. Johnny Henderson, a spokesman for Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs. said in a press release.

A week prior Henderson had said that 15 Marines were receiving care at the large military hospital. Eleven of those Marines were in stable condition at that time.

The Marines were wounded when a suicide bomber carrying roughly 25 pounds of explosives approached a group of Marines helping refugees enter the Abbey Gate to escape the Taliban, which had rapidly taken over Afghanistan.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province, known as ISIS-K or ISIS-KP, claimed credit for the attack.

The attack killed 11 Marines, on Navy corpsman and one solider, along with roughly 170 Afghans.

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.

As of Friday, 29 Marines or corpsman attached to Marine units had received Purple Hearts for actions defending the airport in August while thousands escaped the Taliban.

“These Marines with Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen, helped nearly 130,000 people find a better, freer life I the largest non-combatant evacuation operation in history,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black said in a letter they penned in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Marines and corpsman who lost their lives have all received their Purple Hearts and combat action ribbons, Yvonne Carlock, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, told Marine Corps Times on Friday. Those account of 12 of the 29 Purple Hearts already awarded.

An additional 12 Purple Hearts were pending, while an unknown number of combat action ribbons were pending for Marines involved in the defense.

Carlock did not say which units had Marines receiving either Purple Hearts or combat action ribbons.

The Marine Corps says it will not release details on the wounded Marines due to privacy issues.

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