The Thursday ISIS duel bombing outside of Kabul airport has taken away the lives of 13 young U.S.servicemen, and details of the fallen soldiers revealed on Friday only deepens the wounds to American hearts.
The U.S. Defense Department has not formally announced the names of the servicemen per 24h hours protocol until all the families of the deceased had learned the news.
But according to the New York Post which collected their profile via multiple sources, many were in their 20s and still had a lot ahead of them.
Maxton Soviak, 22, Navy
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) confirmed Soviak’s death on Twitter.
“Jane and I are heartbroken by the death of Max Soviak, a Navy Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman from Berlin Heights, who lost his life in the service of his country,” Portman said. “He was a hero who died serving with his Marine brothers helping to save fellow countrymen and our Afghan allies. We mourn his loss and are praying for his family and friends.”
He attended Edison High School in Milan and after graduating in 2017 became a Navy hospital corpsman. He was from Berlin Heights, Ohio, the Post reported from the Sandusky Register.
“I’ve never been one for politics and i’m not going to start now. What I will say is that my beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drum, annoying, charming baby brother was killed yesterday helping to save lives,” his sister, Marilyn Soviak, shared her grief on Instagram.
According to his family, Soviak had his passion for the Navy, who was so excited about his chance in the force, and “planned to make the Navy a career.”
In high school, he was remembered as a promising student.
“Max was a good student who was active in sports and other activities throughout his school career. He was well respected and liked by everyone who knew him,” his school said in a statement.
Kareem Nikoui, 20, Marines
“He was born the same year it started, and ended his life with the end of this war,” said the marine’s father of the 2001 beginning of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
The Daily Beast reported that Steve Nikoui, Kareem Nikoui’s father, was glued to the media hoping for news that his Marine son, Kareen Nikoui who had been deployed in Afghanistan would not be among those who were taken by the bombing.
Just a day before his untimely death, Nikoui updated family footage of himself giving Afghan children candies at the airport. The video was meant to give assurance to his family that he was safe.
His father said he was always enjoyed being a Marine, who took the call of duty immediately without hesitation.
“He really loved that [Marine Corps] family. He was devoted—he was going to make a career out of this, and he wanted to go. No hesitation for him to be called to duty,” the father shared.
His grieving father was angry.
“I’m really disappointed in the way that the president has handled this, even more so the way the military has handled it. The commanders on the ground should have recognized this threat and addressed it,” Nikoui said.
David Lee Espinoza, 20, Marines
The Laredo Police Department confirmed Espinoza’s death among the 13 U.S. servicemen on Facebook.
“Our thoughts and prayers will remain with the family of United States Fallen Marine, David L. Espinoza, as well as to his friends and fellow Marines,” the department said, sharing that Espinoza was from Laredo, Texas.
“Mr. Espinoza, a Laredo Marine killed in Afghanistan, embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor. When he joined the military after high school, he did so with the intention of protecting our nation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) shared his condolence on Twitter.
“I mourn him and all the fallen heroes in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to the Espinoza family in this extremely difficult time. The brave never die. Mr. Espinoza is a hero.”
Rylee McCollum, 20, Marines
When McCollum, of Bondurant, Wyoming, died in Thursday’s explosion, he was on his first deployment. He had recently married, and was three weeks away from becoming a father, reports the Casper Star Tribune.
McCollum’s sister Roice McCollum told the outlet that he had always wanted to be a part of the force, even from childhood.
“He wanted to be a Marine his whole life and carried around his rifle in his diapers and cowboy boots,” she said. “He was determined to be in infantry.”
His sister recalled he was a person of joy, who was looking to become a history teacher and a wrestling coach after he completed his mission serving for the U.S.
“I’m devastated to learn Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul,” Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon shared his condolences on Friday.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Rylee McCollum of Bondurant. Jennie and I, along with all of Wyoming and the entire country thank Rylee for his service,” he wrote in a Twitter post.
Jared Schmitz, 20, Marines
KMOX reported that Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz from Wentzville, Missouri, had been sent to Afghanistan on his first deployment.
Speaking to the outlet, his father, Mark Schmitz was upset that his son had departed this world too early.
“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,” his father said, recalling that Schmitz had always loved serving the country.
State Rep. Nick Schroer on Friday shared his thoughts on Schmitz’s passing.
“Today please pray for Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz who paid the ultimate sacrifice yesterday serving our nation. This young marine was from St. Charles County and is a true American hero. Keep his family in your prayers today,” Schroer wrote on Facebook.
“Thank you for your service young man! God Bless you and your family, Marine,” he added.
Hunter Lopez, 22, Marine
According to CBS Los Angeles, Lopez of Riverside, California, came from a family of law enforcement, whose parents are Riverside Deputy Sheriff and RSA Board Secretary Alicia Lopez and Riverside Sheriff’s Captain Herman Lopez.
The 22-year-old Marine was looking to become a Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy after returning from his deployment in Afghanistan, the Riverside Sheriff’s Association said in a statement.
“Hunter was the victim of vicious evil and was killed because he wore a United States Marnie uniform with love and pride,” the statement read. “Our entire community feels the anguish, and we mourn the death of Hunter, who answered the call to serve, defend and protect our nation.”
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco wrote on Facebook that Lopez served in the Sheriff’s Explorer Program before he joined the Marine Corps.
“Our entire department is mourning this tragic loss. The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self,” Bianco wrote.
His family has requested all donations to go to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation.
Daegan Page, 23, Marines
Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page was from Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT reported, who was a member of the 2nd Battalion Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton, California.
Page, joined the Marine Corps after he graduated from Millard South school. His family said he was a boy scout who loved hunting, spending time outdoor, and an animal passionate.
“He enjoyed playing hockey for Omaha Westside in the Omaha Hockey Club and was a diehard Chicago Blackhawks fan,” his family shared, according to the news media.
“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,” they said.
Ryan Knauss, 23, Army
Knauss, a U.S. soldier, was brought up in Knoxville, Tennessee, per The Post.
His stepmother Linnae said he had recently completed Psychology Operations training and hoped to relocate to Washington, DC.
“A motivated young man who loved his country. He was a believer so we will see him again in God’s heaven,” his grandfather Wayne Knauss told WATE. The mourning grandfather said Knauss had spent five years serving with special training in Psychology Operations.
Following notice of Knauss’ passing, officials had also shared their deepest sympathy.
“Ryan embodies American heroism—saving people he had never met before, in the face of persistent evil. We will never forget his sacrifice in service to his country,” said U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), as the outlet reported.
“While no words could ever be enough, I join Tennesseans — and all Americans — in extending my deepest condolences to Ryan’s family. Chuck and I are praying for them during this time of unimaginable pain and loss.”
Darin Taylor Hoover Jr., 31, Marines
Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover Jr. was a high school football player from Midvale, Utah.
His grieving father, Darin Hoover, said the marine was only 11 years old when 9/11 happened, and he had been determined ever since to serve his country.
“He was the most-loving, giving, understanding person you could ever meet,” his father told the The Washington Post.
“They look back on him and say that they’ve learned so much from him,” Hoover said of the Marines who had contacted him since learning the news, many of which were working with Taylor as their sergeant. “One heck of a leader.”
Flags at all state facilities and public grounds will be flying at half-staff until sundown Monday in remembrance of Taylor and the other Kabul assault victims, according to Utah Governor Spencer Cox.
Sharing condolences with the victims of the Kabul attack on Twitter, Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) was furious.
“I’m devastated and heartbroken over the brave soldiers who lost their lives,” he wrote. “But, I’m also angry. Angry that this was avoidable and is the direct result of a feckless administration with no backbone.”
One Navy corpsman, seven Marines, and one Army soldier who were killed in the incident on Thursday, have been formally identified, but the identities of three more Marines and one Army soldier have yet to be revealed after the military notifies their relatives.