Congress introduced a bill Tuesday to honor the slain 13 U.S. service members killed in Kabul last week with the Congressional Gold Medal.
“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,” the bill reads.
The attack took place Aug. 26 at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the service members were guarding gates and helping the thousands of American citizens, third-country nationals, and Afghan refugees flocking to the airport to leave the country, following the Taliban takeover Aug. 14.
More than 200 others were killed, and many more were injured as terrorists from the group ISIS-K launched a suicide bombing at one of the gates, and another near the airport.
President Joe Biden went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Aug. 29 for the Dignified Transfer of the remains of the slain.
If passed by Congress and signed by Biden, the medals will be displayed with other recipients at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions.”
Past recipients include George Washington, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, and other icons in U.S. history.
The group would join other honored servicemen such as John Paul Jones, former President and Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, World War II Gen. John J. Pershing, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, The Tuskegee Airmen, U.S. Army 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, American Fighter Aces, and World War II members of the 17th Bombardment Group known as "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders,” among many others.
The Hill listed the service members killed as: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover, 31; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22; Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan Page, 23; Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23; Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25; Navy Hospitalman Maxton Soviak, 22, and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23.
The bipartisan bill has 158 sponsors and is spearheaded by Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., The Hill reported.
“These heroic men and women are gone far too soon, and we must honor them for their bravery in helping U.S. citizens and Afghan allies safely evacuate Afghanistan,” McClain said in a statement. “My heart aches for the families and loved ones of our service members. We will always remember their service and pay tribute to their sacrifice.”
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