Never Forget: 13 Members of the Military Who Gave That Last Full Measure of Devotion in Kabul

Aaron Favila

I wanted to recognize and honor the 13 military members who were killed during the suicide attack in Kabul.

What makes it all the more tragic is how young they are, predominantly between ages 20-23. Their pictures show people full of life, with a love of giving service to their country.

The Marines:
– Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska
– Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming
– 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. 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. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California
– Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California

Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee

Sgt. Nicole Gee

Gee was a maintenance technician with 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Roseville, California. But like others, she was helping with the evacuees at the airport.

From Daily Mail:

‘She cared about people. She loved fiercely. She was a light in this dark world. She was my person,’ said friend and fellow Marine Mallory Harrison in a Facebook post.

‘I find peace knowing that she left this world doing what she loved. She was a Marine’s Marine,’ she said.

‘She was doing God’s work…..a warrior. Searching Afghan women and children trying to get out of country,’ Captain Karen Holliday said in a Facebook tribute.

Holliday called Gee a ‘Model Marine. A leader on the ground in a chaotic situation.’

Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum

Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum was a native of Bondurant, Wyoming, and was married. His wife is expecting a baby in three weeks, his sister, Cheyenne McCollum, said.

From Denver CBS Local:

“He was so excited to be a dad, and he was going to be a great dad,” McCollum said. She said her brother “was a Marine before he knew he was allowed to be a Marine … He’d carry around his toy rifle and wear his sister’s pink princess snow boots and he’d either be hunting or he was a Marine. Sometimes it would be with nothing on underneath, just a T-shirt.”

McCollum said her brother wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach once he completed his service.

Cpl. Daegan Page

From CNN:

“He loved hunting and spending time outdoors with his dad, as well as being out on the water,” the family said. “He was also an animal lover with a soft spot in his heart for dogs.”

Page joined the US Marine Corps after graduating from Millard South High School, the statement added.

He was a longtime Boy Scout and “he enjoyed playing hockey for Omaha Westside in the Omaha Hockey Club and was a diehard Chicago Blackhawks fan.”

Staff Sergeant Darin Taylor Hoover Jr.

From Deseret:

“Soooooo glad I got to see him before he left. I love you son!!! You’re my hero!! Please check in on us once in a while. I’ll try to make you proud!!” Hoover’s father, Darin Hoover, posted on Facebook.

“My handsome nephew, Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover. Taylor spent his entire adult life as a Marine, serving. Doing the hard things that most of us can’t do. He is a hero,” Jeremy Soto, an uncle, posted. “We are wounded. We are bruised. We are angry. We are crushed. … but we remain faithful.”

“Always a smile. Always respectful. A joy to be around. He is adored beyond measure. The world has lost a true light. Our hearts are broken. Shock, disbelief, horror, sadness, sorrow, anger and grief,” Brittany Jones Barnett, an aunt, posted. “Thank you sweet boy for the ultimate sacrifice. For giving your life for us all. Fighting for freedom and giving absolutely everything you had. You will never ever be forgotten. We love you so much.”

Cpl. Hunter Lopez

Both Lopez’s parents served in the Riverside Sheriff’s Office. He’d previously been an Explorer there, and he wanted to work there as a SWAT officer after his Marine duty.

Cpl. Humberto Sanchez

From Pharos Tribune:

Logansport High School Principal Matt Jones tweeted: “Tough day, Berry Nation- Been thinking a lot about 2017 Logansport Berry and Marine Humberto Sanchez and his family. Thank you for serving our country in uniform and sacrifice.”

Lance Cpl. David Espinoza

From KNES:

Congressman Henry Cuellar released a statement following his death stating, “Mr. Espinoza embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor. When he joined the military after high school, he did so with the intention of protecting our nation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service,” said Cuellar. “Mr. Espinoza is a hero.”

Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz

From KMOX:

“This was something he always wanted to do and I never seen a young man train as hard as he did to be the best soldier he could be,” Schmitz said.

Speaking of his son, Schmitz broke into tears, “His life meant so much more. I’m so incredibly devastated that I won’t be able to see the man that he was very quickly growing into becoming.”

“Be afraid of our leadership or lack thereof. Pray every day for the soldiers that are putting their lives at risk, doing what they love which is protecting all of us,” Schmitz said as he shared frustration some are feeling as the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate.

Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola

Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui

The Marines who came to deliver the news of Kareem’s death were “more choked up than me,” Nikoui’s father said. “I was actually trying to console them. But at the same time, I just wanted them to get out as soon as possible so that no one from my family came back and saw them. I thought it appropriate that I be able to tell them.”

Kareem “loved what he was doing, he always wanted to be a Marine,” said Nikoui, noting that his son had been stationed close to home, at Camp Pendleton. This made it easy for Kareem to visit on weekends, and he often brought along “10 or 15 other Marines” with him. When the holidays rolled around, Kareem always brought a few buddies with him for a home-cooked meal, according to Nikoui.

Nikoui believed that President Donald Trump didn’t want to send people into harm’s way but he didn’t think Biden had the same approach, as my colleague Bonchie wrote earlier.

“I really believed this guy didn’t want to send people into harm’s way,” he said.

“They sent my son over there as a paper pusher and then had the Taliban outside providing security,” said Nikoui. “I blame my own military leaders… Biden turned his back on him. That’s it.”

Navy Corpsman Max Soviak

From CNN:

US Navy corpsman Maxton Soviak “was most proud to be a Navy corpsman and a ‘devil doc’ for the Marines,” his parents, Kip and Rachel Soviak, told CNN in a statement.

“His final words to (Rachel) over FaceTime, when he was telling her goodbye was after she told him to be safe and he said ‘Don’t worry mom, my guys got me they won’t let anything happen to me.’ Today she realized that they all just went together,” the statement said.

Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss

Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo

Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo served for six-and-a-half years, and was a supply chief for the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. She had even been in the US Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Lawrence High School in Massachusetts. She was helping out screening women and children being admitted to the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul when she was killed.

From Daily Mail:

Nastassia Hyatt, a former Marine, recalled Rosario helping her through difficult times in a Facebook post.

‘You brought me back to life. Back to life… back to life….’ Hyatt wrote. ‘I wish i could bring you back to life for just one last hug, one last smile, one last nap, one last meal… one last anything.’

‘She the second half of my heart next to my son. Like she’s everything to me. She is the greatest love I’ve ever known in a human besides my son. This one hit hard,’ Hyatt said.

Remember them and their families in your prayers. R.I.P.