The American servicemen and women who died in the bombing at Kabul Airport were returned home this weekend. Their flag draped coffins were carefully unloaded and cared for as President Joe Biden and Jill Biden looked on.
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The only sounds that could be heard during the mournful ritual of the “dignified transfer” were the quiet commands of the honor guards in battle dress who carried the flag-draped cases, the hum of the C-17 aircraft that had transported the fallen and the periodic sob of the sorrowful.
Biden and his wife, Jill, met privately with family members of those killed in the suicide attack near the Kabul airport before the president became the fourth commander in chief over two decades of war to stand at attention at Dover Air Force Base as the remains of the fallen from Afghanistan returned home.
“The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others,” Biden said in a statement Saturday. “Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far.”
Remember Their Names
The Department of Defense announced the names of the 13 U.S. service members who were killed Thursday as a result of deadly suicide attacks during evacuations out of Kabul, Afghanistan.
For the Marine Corps, the deceased are:
- Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
- Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California.
- Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California.
- Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska.
- Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana.
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas.
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri.
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming.
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California.
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California.
For the Navy, the deceased is Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio.
For the Army, the deceased is Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.
U.S. troops are continuing their near-impossible mission to evacuate an estimated 1,000 remaining Americans, and tens of thousands of Afghan allies under constant threat of attack from ISIS-K or IS-K, short for the Islamic State of Khorasan Province.
MG Taylor: We continue to evacuate American citizens and vulnerable Afghans out of Kabul. In fact, there are approximately 1,400 individuals at the Kabul airport who have been screened and manifested for flights today. pic.twitter.com/RZVUkUKLnD— Department of Defense (@DeptofDefense) August 28, 2021
The U.S. is relying on the Taliban, a group that’s spent years working to kill Americans, to keep out terrorists with the same goal from entering the airport’s perimeter.
The President is promising retaliation for the 13 Americans’ lives lost.
“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” President Biden said during a national address to the nation Thursday.
IS-K is the regional affiliate of ISIS in Afghanistan and Pakistan and while not as organized as the Taliban, it’s much more extreme in its beliefs and even more violent.
Please continue to pray for the families of those who tragically lost their lives Thursday and for those who remain in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.