Nine local Marines and one local Navy Corpsman were among the 13 U.S. service members killed in the bomb blast on Thursday near the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, officials confirmed Saturday releasing a full list of those killed.
Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan W. Page, Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, and Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, all of who were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton. And Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton.
All were among 13 U.S. service members killed in the attack that claimed more than 160 lives.
The service members were screening Afghans desperate to fly out of the country and died Thursday in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.
Eleven were U.S. Marines, according to Major Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesman, one was a Navy corpsman and one was a soldier. The Department of Defense announced the identities of those killed:
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. Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton.
For the Army, the deceased is:
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee. Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss was assigned to 9th PSYOP Battalion, 8th PSYOP Group, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
President Joe Biden called the military members heroes who represented the best of America as they worked selflessly to help others escape the Taliban regime that has retaken the country.
"They were part of the bravest, most capable, most selfless military on the face of the Earth," Biden said. "And they were part of simply what I call the backbone of America. They're the spine of America, the best the country has to offer."
Acting swiftly on President Joe Biden's promise to retaliate for the deadly suicide bombing at Kabul airport, the U.S. military said it used a drone strike to kill a member of the Islamic State group's Afghanistan affiliate Saturday.
Biden authorized the drone strike and it was ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet publicly announced.
Maxton W. Soviak
Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton from Berlin Heights, Ohio.
The Soviak family issued the following statement:
On behalf of the entire Soviak family, we want to thank all those who have extended their support and prayers on the loss of our son, Max.
Max was a wonderful son who loved his family, his community, and was proud to serve in the U.S. Navy.
He was excited about the opportunities the Navy would offer him and planned to make the Navy a career. We are incredibly proud of his service to our country.
As we mourn the loss of our son, we also mourn for the loss of the Marines and Soldier who were killed and pray for the speedy recovery of all of those wounded in Afghanistan.
Words cannot express how heartbroken we are with this news and we will miss Max tremendously. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family and we respectfully request that you honor our privacy.
NBC 7 spoke with two of Soviak's friends who said, "He's a hero, he made that sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice. I just hope he was happy wasn't in any distress."
Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, served in the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton. His parents work at the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in Southern California, and he was a sheriff's Explorer for three years before joining the Marine Corps in September 2017, said Sheriff Chad Bianco.
Bianco said Lopez planned to follow in his parents' footsteps and become a Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy after his deployment.
Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, a Marine and native of Bondurant, Wyoming, was married and his wife is expecting a baby in three weeks, his sister, Cheyenne McCollum, said.
“He was so excited to be a dad, and he was going to be a great dad," McColllum 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.”
McColllum said her brother wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach once he completed his service. Another sister, Roice McColllum, told the Casper Star Tribune that her brother was on his first deployment when the evacuation in Afghanistan began.
“We want to make sure that people know that these are the kids that are sacrificing themselves, and he’s got a family who loves him and a wife who loves him and a baby that he’ll never get to meet,” Cheyenne McCollum said.
Regi Stone, the father of one of Rylee McCollum’s friends, described McCollum as “a good kid,” who was resilient, smart and courageous. Stone shared a note that his wife, Kim, sent to their son Eli Stone, who is also in the military and deployed elsewhere. In the note, Kim wrote that she remembered telling the friends to run the other way if they had to go in first and that both of them said, “If we die doing this, we die doing what we love.”
Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui
The Southern California city of Norco confirmed the death of Lance Cpl. Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui. The city said Friday in a post on social media that Nikoui is survived by his parents and siblings, and his name will be enshrined on a memorial wall in the city.
Norco Mayor Kevin Bash said he learned of Nikoui's death Friday morning from a family member.
“He was a good kid, very quiet,” said Bash, adding that “his goal in life was to be in the service.”
The Norco High School Air Force JROTC posted on Facebook that Nikoui was “one of our best Air Force JROTC cadets” and that “Kareem was set on being a Marine & always wanted to serve his country.”
Daegan William-Tyeler Page
Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Page also served in the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton and planned to go to trade school and possibly become a lineman after his enlistment ended, his family said in a statement.
Page was raised in Red Oak, Iowa, and in the Omaha metro area and joined the Marines after graduating from Millard South High School. He is mourned by his girlfriend, parents, stepmom and stepdad, four siblings and grandparents, the family said in a statement released by a family friend. The statement said the family did not wish to speak to the media at this time.
“Daegan will always be remembered for his tough outer shell and giant heart,” the statement said. ”Our hearts are broken, but we are thankful for the friends and family who are surrounding us during this time. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the other Marine and Navy families whose loved ones died alongside Daegan.”
U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, a Republican from Nebraska, said in a statement that he was heartbroken to learn of Page’s death. "Corporal Page is an American hero who gave the last full measure of devotion. He served his country honorably, and his service will never be in vain.”
The father of Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz told KMOX Radio that his son was among a group of Marines sent back to Afghanistan to assist with evacuation efforts.
“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,” Mark Schmitz said, according to The Associated Press. “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.”
Jared Schmitz, 20, grew up in the St. Louis area.
Humberto A. Sanchez
Sanchez, 22, was a U.S. Marine Corps corporal from Logansport, Indiana.
"Few among us answer a call of duty so dangerous as Corporal Sanchez volunteered to do," Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said in a statement Saturday, according to NBC News. "In doing so, he made the ultimate sacrifice so others could live and find freedom."
Logansport Mayor Chris Martin said on Facebook that Sanchez "still had his entire life ahead of him."
"Any plans he may have had for his post-military life were given in sacrifice due to the heart he exhibited in putting himself into harm’s way to safeguard the lives of others," he said.
After confirming U.S. Marine Darin Taylor Hoover's death on Friday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox ordered flags at half staff until Monday, NBC affiliate KSL reports.
"My heart is broken. I spoke with Staff Sgt. Hoover’s parents today. I told them Utah mourned with them. When I asked how we could help, his dad simply replied, 'Just promise me Utah will never forget my son.' I did. Please help me keep my promise," Cox wrote on Twitter.
Hoover was 31 of Salt Lake City.
Check back here for updates on this breaking news story.
The Associated Press contributed to this report -- Ed.