Young dad-to-be was among 13 US troops killed in Afghanistan

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(AP) — A young hubby with a kid connected the way. Another antheral who ever wanted to beryllium successful the military. A antheral who planned to go a sheriff’s lawman erstwhile his deployment ended. Heartwrenching details began emerging Friday astir immoderate of the 13 U.S. troops killed successful a horrific termination bombing astatine Afghanistan’s Kabul airport, which besides claimed the lives of much than 160 Afghans.

Eleven Marines, 1 Navy sailor and 1 Army worker were among the dead, portion 18 different U.S. work members were wounded successful Thursday’s bombing, which was blamed connected Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group. The U.S. said it was the most lethal time for American forces successful Afghanistan since 2011. The White House said President Joe Biden volition look for opportunities to grant the servicemembers who mislaid their lives, galore of whom were men successful their aboriginal 20s.

Here are the stories of immoderate of the victims and the radical who are mourning them:

RYLEE McCOLLUM, 20

Rylee McCollum, a Marine and autochthonal of Bondurant, Wyoming, was joined and his woman is expecting a babe successful 3 weeks, his sister, Cheyenne McCollum, said.

“He was truthful excited to beryllium a dad, and helium was going to beryllium a large dad,” McCollum said. She said her member “was a Marine earlier helium knew helium was allowed to beryllium a Marine … He’d transportation astir his artifact firearm and deterioration his sister’s pinkish princess snowfall boots and he’d either beryllium hunting oregon helium was a Marine. Sometimes it would beryllium with thing connected underneath, conscionable a T-shirt.”

McCollum said her member wanted to beryllium a past teacher and a wrestling manager erstwhile helium completed his service. Another sister, Roice McCollum, told the Casper Star Tribune that her member was connected his archetypal deployment erstwhile the evacuation successful Afghanistan began.

“We privation to marque definite that radical cognize that these are the kids that are sacrificing themselves, and he’s got a household who loves him and a woman who loves him and a babe that he’ll ne'er get to meet,” Cheyenne McCollum said.

Regi Stone, the begetter of 1 of Rylee McCollum’s friends, described McCollum arsenic “a bully kid,” who was resilient, astute and courageous. Stone shared a enactment that his wife, Kim, sent to their lad Eli Stone, who is besides successful the subject and deployed elsewhere. In the note, Kim wrote that she remembered telling the friends to tally the different mode if they had to spell successful archetypal and that some of them said, “If we dice doing this, we dice doing what we love.”

KAREEM MAE’LEE GRANT NIKOUI, 20

Lance Corporal Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui, of Norco, California, sent videos to his household hours earlier helium died, showing himself interacting with children successful Afghanistan. In 1 of the clips, helium asked a young lad to accidental hello.

“Want to instrumentality a video unneurotic buddy?” Nikoui said, leaning successful to instrumentality a video of himself with the boy. “All right, we’re heroes now, man.”

Close household person Paul Arreola said the videos amusement “the bosom of this young man, the emotion helium has.”

“The household is conscionable heartbroken,” helium said. Arreola described Nikoui arsenic an “amazing young man” afloat of committedness who ever wanted to beryllium a Marine and acceptable retired to execute his goal. He is survived by his parents and 3 siblings.

“He loved this state and everything we basal for. It’s conscionable truthful hard to cognize that we’ve mislaid him,” helium said, crying.

Nikoui was besides successful the JROTC, and the Norco High School Air Force JROTC posted connected Facebook that helium was “one of our champion Air Force JROTC cadets” and that “Kareem was acceptable connected being a Marine & ever wanted to service his country.”

The metropolis of Norco said Friday successful a station connected societal media that Nikoui’s sanction volition beryllium enshrined connected a memorial partition successful the city.

JARED SCHMITZ, 20

Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz grew up successful the St. Louis country and was among a radical of Marines sent backmost to Afghanistan to assistance with evacuation efforts, his father, Mark Schmitz, told KMOX Radio.

Mark Schmitz said his lad ever wanted to beryllium a Marine. He said helium learned of his son’s decease erstwhile the Marines came to his location successful Wentzville, Missouri, astatine 2:40 a.m. Friday.

“This was thing helium ever wanted to do, and I ne'er seen a young antheral bid arsenic hard arsenic helium did to beryllium the champion worker helium could be,” Schmitz said of his son. “His beingness meant truthful overmuch more. I’m truthful incredibly devastated that I won’t beryllium capable to spot the antheral that helium was precise rapidly increasing into becoming.”

TAYLOR HOOVER, 31

Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, of Utah, had been successful the Marines for 11 years and was remembered arsenic a leader who died serving others, his begetter Darin Hoover said.

“He is simply a hero. He gave his beingness protecting those that can’t support themselves, doing what helium loved serving his country,” said Darin Hoover, who lives successful a Salt Lake City suburb.

He said helium heard from Marines passim the time Friday who said they are grateful they had his lad arsenic their sergeant.

“They look backmost connected him and accidental that they’ve learned truthful overmuch from him,” Darin Hoover said. “One heck of a leader.”

His begetter said his lad was besides a champion person to his 2 sisters and loved each his extended family. He had a woman successful California and was the benignant of feline who “lit up a room” erstwhile helium came in, his begetter said.

Nate Thompson of Murray, Utah, archetypal met Hoover erstwhile they were 10 years aged successful Little League football. They stayed friends done precocious school, wherever Hoover played lineman. He was undersized for the position, but his bosom and hard enactment much than made up for what helium lacked successful statute, Thompson said. As a friend, helium was selfless and kind.

“If we had occupation with grades, occupation with household oregon occupation connected the field, we ever called Taylor. He’s ever level-headed, adjacent if he’s struggling himself,” helium said.

DEAGAN WILLIAM-TYELER PAGE, 23

Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Page served successful the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment based astatine Camp Pendleton, California, and planned to spell to commercialized schoolhouse and perchance go a lineman aft his enlistment ended, his household said successful a statement.

Page was raised successful Red Oak, Iowa, and successful the Omaha metro country and joined the Marines aft graduating from Millard South High School. He is mourned by his girlfriend, parents, stepmom and stepdad, 4 siblings and grandparents, the household said successful a connection released by a household friend. The connection said the household did not privation to talk to the media astatine this time.

“Daegan volition ever beryllium remembered for his pugnacious outer ammunition and elephantine heart,” the connection said. ”Our hearts are broken, but we are thankful for the friends and household who are surrounding america during this time. Our thoughts and prayers are besides with the different Marine and Navy families whose loved ones died alongside Daegan.”

RYAN KNAUSS, 23

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss was remembered arsenic a motivated antheral who loved his state and was looking guardant to coming backmost to the U.S. and yet moving to Washington, D.C., household members told WATE-TV successful Knoxville, Tennessee.

Knauss’ grandfather, Wayne Knauss, told the tv presumption that the household received connection of Knauss’s decease connected Friday, and ceremonial services were being planned. Knauss said his grandson attended Gibbs High School and grew up successful a Christian home.

“A motivated young antheral who loved his country,” Wayne Knauss said. “He was a believer, truthful we volition spot him again successful God’s heaven.”

Stepmother Linnae Knauss said Ryan planned to determination to Washington aft helium returned to the U.S.

“He was a super-smart hilarious young man,” she said.

HUNTER LOPEZ, 22

Hunter Lopez, whose parents enactment astatine the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department successful Southern California, was a sheriff’s Explorer for 3 years earlier joining the Marine Corps successful September 2017, Sheriff Chad Bianco said.

Bianco said Lopez planned to travel successful his parents’ footsteps and go a Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy aft his deployment.

DAVID LEE ESPINOZA, 20

Lance Corporal David Lee Espinoza, a Marine from Laredo, Texas, joined the subject aft precocious school, and was being remembered arsenic a leader by his mother.

“He was conscionable brave capable to spell bash what helium wanted and to assistance retired people. That’s who helium was, helium was conscionable perfect,” his mother, Elizabeth Holguin. told the Laredo Morning Times.

Espinoza’s decease was confirmed earlier by U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar. The congressman’s property secretary, Dana Youngentob, said Pentagon representatives visited Cuellar’s Washington bureau to pass him of Espinoza’s death. Cuellar’s bureau besides received an authoritative decease announcement from the Pentagon.

In a statement, Cuellar said Espinoza “embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor. When helium joined the subject aft precocious school, helium did truthful with the volition of protecting our federation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service.”

Cuellar concluded, “The brave ne'er die. Mr. Espinoza is simply a hero.”

Associated Press writers Terry Wallace successful Dallas, Lindsay Whitehurst and Brady McCombs successful Salt Lake City and Darlene Superville successful Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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