Kabul terror attack: 4 US service members killed in airport bombing identified
Four out of the 13 US soldiers who were killed in the ISIS-K suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport on Thursday, August 26, have been identified, reports say. Navy medic Max Soviak and Marines Rylee McCollum, David Lee Espinoza and Kareem Nikoui have been identified as the American 'heroes' who lost their lives in the terror attack while stationed at Hamid Karzai International Airport. Reportedly, 170 Afghans were also killed in the attacks.
Pentagon officials noted on Friday, August 27, that there was only one suicide bomber at Kabul airport on Thursday and not two, as previously claimed. 11 service members, who include nine Marines and two Army soldiers, are yet to be identified.
Who was Max Soviak?
Max Soviak, of Berlin Heights, Ohio was believed to be in his early 20s. He graduated from Edison High School, New Jersey in 2017 where he was on the honor roll and football team, reports say. Soviak's school released a statement upon his death that said, "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, " adding that news of his death has brought "great sorrow".
In an Instagram post, Soviak's sister Marianne said that her brother was there to "help people". "My beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drum, annoying, charming baby brother was killed yesterday helping to save lives. He was a f****** medic. he was a fucking medic. There to help people and now he is gone and my family will never be the same, " the caption read.
Who was Kareem Nikoui?
Kareem Nikoui's father, Steve told DailyBeast that he "stayed home from work because there was that attack and I knew he was there. So all day, I was glued to the TV." He noted that he came to know of his son's demise until he saw some Marines show up at his door with the news. Steve further said that the Marines who came to deliver the news of Kareem’s death were "more choked up than me." "I was actually trying to console them. But at the same time, I just wanted them to get out as soon as possible so that no one from my family came back and saw them. I thought it appropriate that I be able to tell them, " he said.
He also added that his son, who was based at Camp Pendleton in California, would bring other Marines home on the holidays often. "My wife and I felt very honored that [since] these other boys weren’t around their homes, that we were able to provide some sort of family life for them" Steve then blamed President Biden for the death of his son and said, "They sent my son over there as a paper pusher and then had the Taliban outside providing security. I blame my own military leaders… Biden turned his back on him. That’s it."
Who was Rylee McCollum?
Rylee McCollum, a Marine from Bondurant, Wyoming, was expecting his first child with his wife. The baby is due in three weeks. He got married right before his deployment to Afghanistan in April. McCollum graduated from Summit Innovations School in Jackson in 2019. Gov Mark Gordon issued a statement and said McCollum was from Bondurant, a tiny community about 45 minutes from Jackson. "I’m devastated to learn Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday's terrorist attack in Kabul. 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, " Gordon said.
Who was David Lee Espinoza?
David Lee Espinoza, 20, was a South Texas Marine from the border city of Laredo. He lived in a small enclave in Webb County called Rio Bravo and was a graduate of LBJ High School. US Rep Henry Cuellar, Democrat who also belongs from Laredo said in a statement, "Mr. Espinoza 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. 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." Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz noted that he ordered all US flags to fly half-staff in the city on behalf of Espinoza.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III expressed condolences to the families of the deceased US service members on Friday, August 27, and said, "On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I express my deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today."