THEY WERE SO YOUNG
“My heart is in pieces.” — Navy medic’s sister.
The U.S. service members among the 13 who were killed in the terrorist bomb attack outside the Kabul airport on Thursday have been identified
Max Soviak, a Navy medic in his early 20s, was named on Friday by his New Jersey high school.
“He was just a kid,” his sister Marilyn wrote on social media. “We are sending kids over there to die, kids with families that now have holes just like ours. My heart is in pieces.”
David Lee Espinoza, 20, a Marine from Laredo, Texas, leaves behind a brother, mother and stepfather.
Espinoza was on his second deployment, his mother Elizabeth Holguin said, adding that he was brave, and wanted to be there.
Rylee McCollum, a Marine from Wyoming, graduated from high school in 2019 and was on his first deployment and was manning an airport checkpoint when the bomb exploded.
He was just three weeks away from becoming a father.
“He wanted to be a Marine his whole life,” said his sister Roice. “He was going to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach when he finished serving his country. He’s a tough, kind, loving kid who made an impact on everyone he met. His joke and wit brought so much joy.”
Kareem Nikoui, a Marine from California, “really loved his Marine Corps family,” his father Steve said. “He was devoted.”
The father didn’t realize his son had been killed until fellow Marines came to his door with the tragic news.
“I’m still in shock,” he said. “I haven’t been able to grasp everything that’s going on.”
His father criticized Biden’s bungling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan for the death of his son. “Biden turned his back on him. That’s it.”
Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, California, was was a maintenance technician with 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Just days before she was killed in the suicide blast, Gee was photographed holding an Afghan baby, and escorting a line of evacuees waiting to board a plane at the Kabul airport.
Johanny Rosario, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, was a member of the US Marine Corps’ Female Engagement Team.
She was a graduate of Lawrence High School and attended Bridgewater State University. In May, she was honored by her unit, the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, whose members were on the ground aiding in evacuations at the Kabul airport.
Students honored him at Friday night’s football game by wearing red, white and blue.
“Dylan was a beloved son, brother, grandson, great grandson, nephew, a great friend, and a brave soldier,” said family friend.
He had planned on following in his parents’footsteps and becoming a deputy when he returned home.
He was described by family and friends as a joy and a ray of light. His father said he was his hero.
“As his parents, of course, we were terrified,” his father said. “I don’t have words for how upset we are.”
Ryan Knauss, 23, an Army Staff Sgt. from Knoxville, Tennessee, attended Gibbs High School before joining the Army.
His stepmother said he loved to laugh, help his wife Alena in her garden, and enjoyed working with his hands building things.
He had just finished Psychological Operations training and was hoping to serve in Washington, D.C.
A longtime Boy Scout, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps after he graduated from high school.
“He enjoyed playing hockey for Omaha Westside in the Omaha Hockey Club and was a diehard Chicago Blackhawks fan,” the family said. “He loved hunting and spending time outdoors with his dad, as well as being out on the water. He was also an animal lover with a soft spot in his heart for dogs.”
Sanchez had not yet even turned 30 and “still had his entire life ahead of him,” the mayor said.
Friends paid tribute to a joker who was always making people laugh.