After the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport last Thursday that left at least 170 people dead, including, 13 American soldiers In the worst blow to its Army in Afghanistan since 2011, the Defense Department identified members of the Army who died while helping evacuate people to safety.
They came from all over the country, from California to Wyoming to Tennessee, and had an average age of little more than 22 years. Specifically, 22.7. Eleven were Marines, one was a Navy medic, and another was a member of the Army. This is what is known about some of them.
Darin T. HooverThe 31-year-old was born in Salt Lake City and was a sergeant in the Marine Corps. Sergeant Hoover was “a born leader” who loved America and was on his third tour of Afghanistan, said his father Darin Hoover. “He led his men to that, and they followed him, but I know, I know in the bottom of my heart, he was in the lead,” she said. And they would have followed him to the gates of hell if that was what it took and that’s more or less what he did.
Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, a native of Lawrence, Massachusetts and a Marine Corps Sgt. Sergeant Rosario should be “recognized for the hero she was,” her family told the mayor of Lawrence. Her high school instructor remembered her as an “absolute warrior” and Marine Corps First Lieutenant John Coppola said in a statement that she had been “crucial in evacuating thousands of women and children.” The Dominican Republic embassy in the United States said she was a Dominican-American.
Hunter López, 22, from Indio, California. He belonged to the Marine Corps. Corporal Lopez’s mother told a reporter in Southern California that her son had recently taken an Afghan boy several miles to safety and asked people to light a candle in his honor. Lopez’s parents work for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in California, his father as a captain and his mother as a deputy. “Like his parents who serve our community, being a Marine for Hunter was not a job; it was a calling, ”the Riverside Sheriffs Association wrote in a statement.
Daegan W. Page, 23, from Omaha, Nebraska. He belonged to the Marine Corps. Corporal Page grew up in Red Oak, Iowa, and the area around Omaha, and joined the Marines after high school, his family said in a statement. He had four brothers and was a member of the Boy Scouts, played for hockey clubs, hunted with his father, and had a “soft spot in his heart for dogs.” “For his younger siblings, he was their favorite gym and for their friends, he was a genuinely happy boy who could always be counted on,” the family said, adding that his parents, step-parents, siblings, grandparents and his girlfriend cried for him. .
Maxton W. Soviak, 22, from Berlin Heights, Ohio. He worked as a doctor at the Hospital de la Armada. Soviak grew up playing soccer in a small community in northern Ohio, where his death left a “giant hole” in the lives of his loved ones, his sister Marilyn wrote in an Instagram post. He was a Navy medic who had graduated from high school in 2017. “Everybody looked at Max in tough situations,” said Jim Hall, his high school soccer coach, who described Mr. Soviak as a deep friend. loyal. «He was energetic. He wore his emotions on his sleeve. He was a passionate child. He did not retain anything.
Nicole GeeThe 23-year-old US Army Marine Corps sergeant is in two iconic images. In one of them, she cradles an Afghan baby, with light brown hair and terrified eyes despite his young age. He was one of those kids that the military rescued from the hands of their relatives, from an airport wall, in the chaos outside, between shootings by the Taliban to control the crowd seeking to enter the airfield.
Humberto A. Sánchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana. He belonged to the Marine Corps. Corporal Sanchez lived in a small town an hour and a half north of Indianapolis and had graduated from Logansport High School. The mayor of Logansport said that Corporal Sanchez “still had his whole life ahead of him” and that the young man had sacrificed himself “putting himself in danger” as part of the mission in Kabul. Governor Eric Holcomb of Indiana promised to “honor him in every way possible.” “Few of us respond to a call to duty as dangerous as Corporal Sánchez offered to do so,” he said.
David L. Espinoza, 20, from Rio Bravo, Texas. Espinoza’s mother told local television that she had received a call at 2:30 am informing her of the death of her young son. “I’m proud of him for what he did, but as a mother, you know, it’s difficult,” his mother, Elizabeth Holguin, told KGNS-TV station, crying. The station reported that Corporal Espinoza’s sister had just turned 13 years old. The corporal was born in Laredo, Texas, his family said, and had been stationed in Jordan for two years before being transferred to Kabul a week ago. He “always knew” how much his parents loved him, Holguin said.
Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri. Corporal Lance Schmitz, who lived in a St. Louis suburb, had been stationed in Jordan on his first deployment before being flown to Afghanistan for the evacuation mission about two weeks ago, his father, Mark Schmitz, told the radio. KMOX in St. Louis. “It’s something he always wanted to do, and I’ve never seen a young man train as hard as him to be the best soldier he could be,” Schmitz said, adding that the family was devastated and furious. “Someone came and took the easy path and ended it all for him and for us – and for those others who were killed,” he said.
Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn. Army Sergeant. Sergeant Knauss was “a motivated young man who loved his country,” his grandfather Wayne Knauss told WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. “He was a believer, so we will see him again in heaven.” He had been in the Army for five years, his grandfather said, and his stepmother told the station that he planned to move to Washington when he returned to the United States. One of his former teachers said that he had been “quiet but confident” in school and that he had written an essay that said that his role models were people who oppose power to help people. “He wrote that nine years ago when he was 14 years old, not knowing the man he was going to become,” Angela Hoffman, the teacher, told the station.
Some bars in the US are reserving tables with thirteen beers this weekend in honor of all the deceased young people. The image has gone viral