A girl who cradled a child in her arms on the airport and posted on social media that she liked her job. A younger husband with a toddler on the best way. One other man who all the time needed to be within the army. A person who deliberate to change into a sheriff’s deputy when his deployment ended. Coronary heart-wrenching particulars have emerged about among the 13 U.S. troops killed in a horrific suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport, which additionally claimed the lives of greater than 160 Afghans.
Eleven Marines, one Navy sailor and one Military soldier have been among the many lifeless, whereas 18 different U.S. service members have been wounded in Thursday’s bombing, which was blamed on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group. The U.S. stated it was probably the most deadly day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011. The White Home stated President Joe Biden will search for alternatives to honor the service members who misplaced their lives, lots of whom have been males of their early 20s.
Listed below are the tales of among the victims and the people who find themselves mourning them:
NICOLE GEE, 23
Per week earlier than she was killed, Sgt. Nicole Gee cradled a child in her arms on the Kabul airport. She posted the photograph on Instagram and wrote, “I really like my job.”
Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California, was a upkeep technician with the twenty fourth Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Sgt. Mallory Harrison, who lived with Gee for 3 years and referred to as her a “sister eternally” and finest buddy, wrote concerning the magnitude of her loss.
“I can’t fairly describe the sensation I get after I power myself to come back again to actuality & take into consideration how I’m by no means going to see her once more,” Harrison wrote on Fb. “How her final breath was taken doing what she liked — serving to individuals. … Then there was an explosion. And identical to that, she’s gone.”
Gee’s Instagram web page exhibits one other photograph of her in fatigues, holding a rifle subsequent to a line of individuals strolling into the stomach of a giant transport aircraft. She wrote: “escorting evacuees onto the fowl.”
The social media account that features many selfies after understanding on the health club lists her location as California, North Carolina and “someplace abroad.”
Pictures present her on a camel in Saudi Arabia, in a bikini on a Greek isle and holding a beer in Spain. One from this month in Kuwait exhibits her beaming along with her meritorious promotion to sergeant.
Harrison stated her era of Marines hears struggle tales from veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, however they appear distant amid boring deployments till “the peaceable float you have been on turns into … your folks by no means coming dwelling.”
Gee’s automotive was nonetheless parked in lots at Camp Lejeune and Harrison mused about all of the Marines who walked previous it whereas she was abroad.
“A few of them knew her. A few of them didn’t.” she stated. “All of them walked previous it. The struggle tales, the losses, the flag-draped coffins, the KIA bracelets & the heartbreak. It’s not so distant anymore.”
RYLEE McCOLLUM, 20
Rylee McCollum, a Marine and native of Bondurant, Wyoming, was married and his spouse is anticipating a child in three weeks, his sister, Cheyenne McCollum, stated.
“He was so excited to be a dad, and he was going to be a fantastic dad,” McCollum stated. She stated her brother “was a Marine earlier than he knew he was allowed to be a Marine. … He’d carry round his toy rifle and put on his sister’s pink princess snow boots and he’d both be searching or he was a Marine. Typically it might be with nothing on beneath, only a T-shirt.”
McCollum stated her brother needed to be a historical past instructor and a wrestling coach as soon as he accomplished his service. One other sister, Roice McCollum, instructed the Casper Star Tribune that her brother was on his first deployment when the evacuation in Afghanistan started.
“We wish to be sure that individuals know that these are the youngsters which are sacrificing themselves, and he’s acquired a household who loves him and a spouse who loves him and a child that he’ll by no means get to fulfill,” Cheyenne McCollum stated.
Regi Stone, the daddy of one in all Rylee McCollum’s pals, described McCollum as “ child,” who was resilient, good and brave. Stone shared a word that his spouse, Kim, despatched to their son Eli Stone, who can also be within the army and deployed elsewhere. Within the word, Kim wrote that she remembered telling the buddies to run the opposite approach in the event that they needed to go in first and that each of them stated, “If we die doing this, we die doing what we love.”
KAREEM MAE’LEE GRANT NIKOUI, 20
Lance Corporal Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui, of Norco, California, despatched movies to his household hours earlier than he died, displaying himself interacting with kids in Afghanistan. In a single clip, he requested a younger boy to say howdy.
“Need to take a video collectively buddy?” Nikoui stated, leaning in to take a video of himself with the boy. “All proper, we’re heroes now, man.”
Household buddy Paul Arreola stated the movies present “the guts of this younger man, the love he has.”
“The household is simply heartbroken,” he stated. Arreola described Nikoui as an “superb younger man” filled with promise who all the time needed to be a Marine and got down to obtain his aim. He’s survived by his dad and mom and three siblings.
“He liked this nation and all the things we stand for. It’s simply so exhausting to know that we’ve misplaced him,” he stated, crying.
Nikoui was additionally within the JROTC, and the Norco Excessive Faculty Air Power JROTC posted on Fb that he was “one in all our greatest Air Power JROTC cadets” and that “Kareem was set on being a Marine & all the time needed to serve his nation.”
JARED SCHMITZ, 20
Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz grew up within the St. Louis space and was amongst a bunch of Marines despatched again to Afghanistan to help with evacuation efforts, his father, Mark Schmitz, instructed KMOX Radio.
“This was one thing he all the time needed to do, and I by no means seen a younger man prepare as exhausting as he did to be the very best soldier he could possibly be,” Mark Schmitz stated of his son. “His life meant a lot extra. I’m so extremely devastated that I received’t be capable to see the person that he was in a short time rising into changing into.”
TAYLOR HOOVER, 31
Workers Sgt. Taylor Hoover, of Utah, had been within the Marines for 11 years and was remembered as a hero who died serving others, his father, Darin Hoover, stated.
“He’s a hero. He gave his life defending these that may’t shield themselves, doing what he liked serving his nation,” stated Darin Hoover, who lives in a Salt Lake Metropolis suburb.
He stated he had heard from Marines who stated they have been grateful that they had his son as their sergeant.
“They appear again on him and say that they’ve realized a lot from him,” Hoover stated. “One heck of a pacesetter.”
Hoover stated his son was additionally a finest buddy to his two sisters and liked all his prolonged household. He had a girlfriend in California and was the sort of man who “lit up a room” when he got here in, his father stated.
Nate Thompson of Murray, Utah, first met Hoover once they have been 10 years previous in Little League soccer. They stayed pals by way of highschool, the place Hoover performed lineman. He was undersized for the place, however his coronary heart and exhausting work greater than made up for what he lacked in statute, Thompson stated. As a buddy, he was selfless and type.
“If we had hassle with grades, hassle with household or hassle on the sector, we all the time referred to as Taylor. He’s all the time level-headed, even when he’s struggling himself,” he stated.
DEAGAN WILLIAM-TYELER PAGE, 23
Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Web page served within the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment based mostly at Camp Pendleton, California, and deliberate to go to commerce faculty and presumably change into a lineman after his enlistment ended, his household stated in a press release.
Web page was raised in Crimson Oak, Iowa, and within the Omaha space and joined the Marines after graduating from Millard South Excessive Faculty. He’s mourned by his girlfriend, dad and mom, stepmom and stepdad, 4 siblings and grandparents, the household assertion stated.
“Daegan will all the time be remembered for his powerful outer shell and big coronary heart,” the assertion stated. ”Our hearts are damaged, however we’re grateful for the family and friends who’re surrounding us throughout this time. Our ideas and prayers are additionally with the opposite Marine and Navy households whose family members died alongside Daegan.”
RYAN KNAUSS, 23
Military Workers Sgt. Ryan Knauss was remembered as a motivated man who liked his nation and was wanting ahead to coming again to the U.S. and ultimately transferring to Washington, D.C., members of the family instructed WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Knauss’ grandfather, Wayne Knauss, instructed the tv station that his grandson attended Gibbs Excessive Faculty and grew up in a Christian dwelling.
“A motivated younger man who liked his nation,” Wayne Knauss stated. “He was a believer, so we’ll see him once more in God’s heaven.”
Stepmother Linnae Knauss stated Ryan deliberate to maneuver to Washington after he returned to the U.S.
“He was a super-smart hilarious younger man,” she stated.
HUNTER LOPEZ, 22
Hunter Lopez, whose dad and mom work on the Riverside County Sheriff’s Division in Southern California, was a sheriff’s Explorer for 3 years earlier than becoming a member of the Marine Corps in September 2017, Sheriff Chad Bianco stated.
Bianco stated Lopez deliberate to comply with in his dad and mom’ footsteps and change into a Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy after his deployment.
DAVID LEE ESPINOZA, 20
Lance Corporal David Lee Espinoza, a Marine from Laredo, Texas, joined the army after highschool, and was being remembered as a hero by his mom.
“He was simply courageous sufficient to go do what he needed and to assist out individuals. That’s who he was, he was simply excellent,” his mom, Elizabeth Holguin. instructed the Laredo Morning Occasions.
In a press release, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar stated Espinoza “embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor. When he joined the army after highschool, he did so with the intention of defending our nation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service.”
Cuellar concluded, “The courageous by no means die. Mr. Espinoza is a hero.”
Melley reported from Los Angeles and Hanson reported from Helena, Montana. Related Press writers Janie Har in San Francisco, Amy Forliti in Minneapolis, Terry Wallace in Dallas, Lindsay Whitehurst and Brady McCombs in Salt Lake Metropolis, and Darlene Superville in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.
Brian Melley And Amy Beth Hanson, The Related Press