The lives of 18 military service members were lost in August, a loss that can take a devastating toll on a military town like San Diego. So, Naval Base San Diego on Friday paused to honor and reflect on the lives lost and sacrifices made in service to the nation.
The military base held a moment of silence to recognize the 11 U.S. Marines, Navy sailor and Army soldier who were killed in a suicide bombing at an airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021, and the five sailors who died in a helicopter crash off the coast of San Diego on Aug. 31, 2021.
Those service members were:
- Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover
- Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo
- Sgt. Nicole L. Gee
- Cpl. Hunter Lopez
- Cpl. Daegan W. Page
- Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez
- Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza
- Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz
- Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum
- Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola
- Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui
- Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Maxton W. Soviak
- Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss
- Lt. Bradley A. Foster
- Lt. Paul R. Fridley
- Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker
- Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns
- Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak
The Naval base said the moment of silence was held after a request from some of their sailors, like BMSN Joshua Holmes, to honor those who recently died.
"Being in the military, you never want to hear that one of your brothers and sisters died," Holmes said about why the moment of silence was important to the military community. "Hearing that you had fallen soldiers and fallen sailors die, sacrificing everything, the biggest sacrifice -- for me, for us, for the USA -- it hits deep to heart."
The ceremony began with an announcement over a loudspeaker calling for a moment of silence across the base. Service members were asked to stop, come to attention, and salute.
The majority of the service members killed in the Kabul bombing and the helicopter crash were stationed in San Diego County, which has more than a half-dozen military installations.
"While we recognize that many service members have sacrificed their lives in service of our country, August 2021 was a particularly difficult month for many of our active duty, reserve and veterans," a release from the Naval base said. "Some of our Sailors have asked if we could take a moment to honor these great men and women and recognize their sacrifice that is still so fresh in their hearts and minds."
Five sailors were declared dead days after a MH-60S helicopter conducting routine training on the USS Abraham Lincoln crashed about 60 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego.
The recovery mission for some of those sailors is still ongoing.
"Without them, we couldn't be standing here today," Holmes said. "And, for that I respect them, each and every one of those fallen victims -- heroes, they are true heroes -- it will take a deep toll on my heart."