Sunday, August 29, 2021

10 Marines Killed in Kabul Attack Hailed from Camp Pendleton

That's a huge toll. 

Not far from here, and these troops' families, wherever they may be, are grieving.

At LAT, "10 Camp Pendleton service members among 13 killed in Kabul airport attack":

SAN DIEGO — Nine Marines and a sailor based at Camp Pendleton were among the 13 U.S. service members killed Thursday in a suicide bomb attack at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Saturday.

The Thursday bombing killed 11 Marines, one soldier and one Navy corpsman — the deadliest single attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 10 years.

[For the record: 11:31 a.m. Aug. 28, 2021A previous version of this story included incorrect service branches of troops killed. It has been updated with the correct numbers.]

It was the largest mass-casualty incident of the war involving the sprawling base near Oceanside, home to the 1st Marine Division, the oldest and largest in the Corps. Four of those killed were California residents.

Maj. Gen. Roger Turner Jr., the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, said those who died did so while performing a heroic mission.

“I extend my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of the 1st Marine Division servicemen who lost their lives while heroically safeguarding the evacuation of thousands of U.S. citizens and faithful allies from Hamid Karzai International Airport,” Turner said in a statement. “Nine Marines and one Sailor paid the ultimate price to defend our nation and extend the reach of freedom beyond our shores.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also issued a statement offering his condolences to the families of those killed.

“California joins the nation in mourning the tragic loss of 13 U.S. service members, including those from California, and many other innocent victims in this heinous attack,” Newsom said. “Our heroic troops gave their lives to protect others amid harrowing and dangerous conditions, and we will never forget their bravery and selfless sacrifice in service to our nation.”

At least 170 other people, including children, were killed in the explosion. It was triggered by a suicide bomber at an airport gate where U.S. troops were searching evacuees hoping to the leave the country. At least 18 other service members were injured.

The Camp Pendleton-based Marines and sailor were part of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. They are:

* Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City. Rep. Blake D. Moore (R-Utah) said on Twitter about the 2008 high school graduate: He “spent his last moments serving our state and nation, and we’ll never forget his unwavering devotion.”

* Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, Calif. Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha. He joined the Marines in 2019 after graduating from Millard South High School, according to a statement from his family, and was with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. He liked hunting and the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team. “Daegan will always be remembered for his tough outer shell and giant heart,” his family said.

* Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Ind.

* Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Mo. A Marine since 2019, he was on his first deployment, his father, Mark, told radio station KMOX in St. Louis. “I’m so incredibly devastated that I won’t be able to see the man that he was very quickly growing into becoming,” he said.

* Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas. He graduated in 2019 from Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Laredo and enlisted because he wanted to help other people, his mother, Elizabeth Holquin, told the Washington Post. “It was his calling and he died a hero,” she said.

* Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyo. McCollum’s father, Jim, told the New York Times, “He was a beautiful soul.” He said his son signed enlistment papers on his 18th birthday. “He’s the most patriotic kid you could find. Loved America, loved the military. Tough as nails with a heart of gold.”

* Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

* Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, Calif.

* Hospitalman Maxton Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio. He was a 2017 graduate of Edison High School, which released a statement about his death. On Instagram, his sister, Marilyn Soviak, wrote, “My beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drum, annoying, charming baby brother was killed yesterday helping to save lives ... My heart is in pieces and I don’t think they’ll ever fit back right again.”

Two additional Marines and a soldier were also killed. They are:

* Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.

* Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Sacramento.

* Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn.

* Rosario Pichardo was assigned to the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Bahrain. Gee was attached to Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Knauss was assigned to the 9th PSYOP Battalion, 8th PSYOP Group at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Family members began sharing their grief in media interviews and on social media after being notified this week.

Among those killed were two Marines from Riverside County, Lopez and Nikoui...

Keep reading

There's a photo of Marine Sergeant Gee at the article. She's holding a baby in the pic, and her story has been widely lamented on Twitter.

It's all so ghastly. Beyond words.

Pray people. Pray for all of them and their families --- and for our country.