WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation to posthumously award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 American service members who terrorists killed in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021 while the service members were bravely working to evacuate Americans and Afghan partners at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The bill, which U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined in introducing, now heads to President Biden’s desk.
“The American service members went above and beyond the call of duty to protect citizens of the United States and our allies to ensure they are brought to safety in an extremely dangerous situation as the Taliban regained control over Afghanistan,” states the bill. “[They] dedicated their lives and their heroism deserves great honor.”
The names of the fallen are as follow: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, and Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page.