SAN DIEGO — The Department of Defense has formally identified all 13 of the U.S. service members killed in a terror attack outside the airport in Afghanistan’s capital this week; 10 were based at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.
The service members — nine Marines and one sailor with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division — from the local base were identified as:
- Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah
- Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California
- Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana
- Cpl. Daegan Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska
- Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri
- Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California
- Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California
- Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming
- Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas
- Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio
The other three service members were identified as:
- Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee
Knauss was based at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
- Marine Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California
Gee was based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
- Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts
Rosariopichardo was assigned to 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Naval Support Activity Bahrain.
The service members had been helping people evacuate the nation via the Kabul airport when they were killed in a suicide bombing carried out by members of the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate, known as ISIS-K. They were the first U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan since February 2020.
On Saturday, flowers, flags and words of gratitude were left at the entrance to Camp Pendleton.
“Appreciate everything they’ve done,” said Jesse Gutierrez, who was there paying his respects to the fallen service members. “That takes a lot of heart, a lot of bravery.”
In a statement, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the deceased heroes and said flags would be flown at half-staff at the state capitol.
“California joins the nation in mourning the tragic loss of 13 U.S. service members, including those from California, and many other innocent victims in this heinous attack,” Newsom said. “Our heroic troops gave their lives to protect others amid harrowing and dangerous conditions, and we will never forget their bravery and selfless sacrifice in service to our nation.”
Rep. Darrell Issa — who represents the 50th District of California, including the Marines at Camp Pendleton — offered his sympathies and appreciation for the military.
“For the 13 Gold Star families, our hearts go out to them for those 5,000 brave men and women that are still there as we speak, still helping rescue people, Americans in Afghanistan,” he said. “They are doing what they want to do and doing it at great peril.”
Major General Roger B. Turner, Jr., commanding general of the first Marine division, also released a statement saying, “We cherish the legacy these warriors leave behind and commit our resources to support the wounded and bereaved.”
The U.S. is entering the final phase of its military withdrawal in Afghanistan, and defense officials said as few as 4,000 service members remained in the nation as of Saturday, the Associated Press reports.
FOX 5 has put together an updating list of this week’s U.S. military casualties, with photos and details about their lives when available.