(KABUL, Afghanistan) – Thirteen US soldiers were among nearly 200 people killed in an attack at Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Thursday.
An ISIS-K suicide bomber detonation near the airport’s Abbey Gate amid evacuation efforts killed at least 170 Afghans, including several children, as well as two Britons and a citizen’s child British, according to Afghan and British officials.
President Joe Biden called the US servicemen killed in the attack “heroes who have embarked on a dangerous and selfless mission to save the lives of others.”
Those killed included 11 Marines, as well as an Army soldier and a Navy medic, US officials said.
“These warriors who died gave their lives to save thousands of American and Afghan men, women and children,” Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, said in a statement. “Their courage and selflessness represent America’s highest ideals. We pay a solemn tribute to their sacrifice.
The names of service members are released 24 hours after notifications from next of kin, although some of those killed have been identified by family and authorities. Here’s what we know about them so far.
Navy Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak, of Ohio, was “very proud” to serve his country, his mother said in a statement to ABC News.
“He was very passionate about helping fellow Americans and trying to get them home safely,” said Rachel Soviak. “There are no words to describe the pain our family feels. There will always be a hole in our hearts.
The family are praying for the troops to arrive home safe and sound, she said.
Max Soviak graduated in 2017 from Edison High School in Milan, Ohio. School leaders remembered him as “full of life in everything he did.”
“Max was a good student who took part in sports and other activities throughout his school career,” Superintendent Thomas Roth said in a statement. “He was highly respected and appreciated by everyone who knew him. “
Marine David Espinoza was originally from Laredo, Texas, according to Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, who issued a statement confirming his death.
“Sir. Espinoza embodied America’s values: courage, dedication, service and courage,” Cuellar said. “When he joined the military after high school, he did so with the intention of protecting our nation and demonstrate his selfless acts of service. “
Espinoza graduated from Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Laredo in 2019 and is survived by his brother, mother and stepfather, Cuellar’s office said.
Marine Rylee McCollum, of Bondurant, Wyoming, was among those killed, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon confirmed.
“I am devastated to learn that Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul,” Gordon said on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Rylee McCollum of Bondurant.”
Marine Kareem Nikoui was among those killed in the attack, ABC News confirmed.
Nikoui “always wanted to be a Marine,” his father, Steve Nikoui, a carpenter in California, told The Daily Beast.
“He was dedicated – he was going to make a career out of it and he wanted to go,” Nikoui told the outlet. “No hesitation for him to be called to duty.
Cpl. Hunter Lopez was the son of two members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in Southern California – Captain Herman Lopez and Deputy Alicia Lopez – the department said.
The 22-year-old planned to “follow in his parents’ footsteps” and become a deputy himself upon his return from deployment, Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a Facebook post announcing his death.
As a teenager, Lopez was a Riverside Sheriff’s Explorer Scout at Palm Desert Station. After graduating from La Quinta High School, he joined the Marine Corps in September 2017, Bianco said.
“Like his parents who serve our community, being a Marine for Hunter wasn’t a job; it was a calling, ”the Riverside Sheriff’s Association said in a statement. “He loved his family, and while we mourn for Hunter and his fellow Marines who were taken from us too soon, there are simply no words to express how much we will miss him.”
Her family is asking that all donations be made to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff’s Relief Foundation on their behalf.
-Alondra Valle and Zunaira Zaki of ABC News contributed to this report.
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