Among the 13 service members killed in a suicide bomb attack outside Kabul airport recently, ten were stationed at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside CA.
The attack killed 11 marines, one sailor, and one soldier, as well as injuring many other service members.
In addition to the US forces who lost their lives, at least 170 other people were also killed during the explosion, which is the largest mass-casualty incident of the war in Afghanistan involving forces stationed at Camp Pendleton.
One of the marines that was killed in the Aug. 26 attack, Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20, was honored in his home town of Rancho Cucamonga earlier this week. Over 1,000 people attended a vigil for Merola held on Freedom Courtyard, with speakers including his mother, close friend, and former high school teacher.
Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, and best friend Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, were also among the marines killed in Kabul. McCollum left behind a pregnant wife, who is expecting a daughter within the next few weeks.
The family does find solace in that Lance Cpl. McCollum died with his best friend from boot camp, with Rylee’s father saying in an interview to FOX5, “…they both died together so that one’s special to us.”
The service members who died in the bombing at Kabul airport include:
Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, TX – Camp Pendleton
Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah – Camp Pendleton
Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, CA – Camp Pendleton
Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming – Camp Pendleton
Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, CA – Camp Pendleton
Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, CA – Camp Pendleton
Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, NE – Camp Pendleton
Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, IN – Camp Pendleton
Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, MO – Camp Pendleton
Hospitalman Maxton Soviac, of Berlin Heights, OH – Camp Pendleton
Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Sacramento, CA – Camp Lejeune
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, of Corryton, TN – Fort Bragg
Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, MA – Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade