Friday Marks The 1-Year Anniversary Of 13 American Heroes Paying The Ultimate Sacrifice In Afghanistan

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It’s been one year since 13 American heroes died during the fall of Afghanistan.

While the pullout from Afghanistan was a disgraceful moment for the USA as the Taliban regained control after two decades of war, no day was worse than Aug. 26, 2021.

On that fateful and horrific day, an ISIS-K scumbag terrorist detonated a suicide bomb near one of the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport, and the aftermath was devastating.

At least 170 civilians were killed, and 13 American heroes also laid down their lives in the horrific terrorist attack.

Below are the names of the fallen:

  1. Maxton “Max” W. Soviak
  2. Ryan C. Knauss
  3. Darin T. Hoover Jr.
  4. Johanny Rosario Pichardo
  5. Nicole L. Gee
  6. Hunter Lopez
  7. Daegan W. Page
  8. Humberto A. Sanchez
  9. David L. Espinoza
  10. Jared M. Schmitz
  11. Rylee J. McCollum
  12. Dylan R. Merola
  13. Kareem M. Nikoui

Even a year removed from the heartbreaking attack, the pain of the situation has hardly eased. Despite the immense sadness surrounding the deaths of 13 American service members, it’s also a reminder our military has never hesitated to help those in need – even at the cost of our own blood and treasure.

Politics aside, when the Taliban surged into control in Kabul and across the country, President Joe Biden ordered a huge evacuation effort.

The military rushed in with the objective of holding Hamid Karzai International Airport so innocent civilians and Afghans who helped America could be evacuated as quickly as possible.

Planes were loaded and flown out around the clock as carnage unfolded throughout the city. Eventually, an ISIS-K fighter slipped through and killed 13 American heroes.

They went to Afghanistan with the goal of helping people. It cost them their lives.

Rylee McCollum, Max Soviak, Hunter Lopez and 10 other American heroes were killed in Afghanistan during the collapse of Kabul. (Credit: Riverside Sheriff’s Association, McCollum Family and Instagram)

“The best of us never made it home, we remember them and try and live a better life for them,” former Delta Force commando Brian Gilligan told OutKick when talking about the deaths in Afghanistan and other service members who died in the line of duty.

Fellow former Delta Force operator Chris VanSant added to OutKick, “Since the birth of our nation, every generation has produced men and women willing to lay down their lives in the defense of their country. Those sacrifices not only saved lives, but set the example for those that follow. Their stories, their selflessness, their commitment to a cause greater than themselves, should always be honored and never forgotten.”

It’s easy to get down and out on the current state of America and the world, but the fact 13 Americans, many not even old enough to buy a beer, laid down their lives to protect and defend complete strangers thousands of miles away should make you proud of our spirit and resolve.

It might get ugly and it might get dark, but the best in this country will always make you proud.

Thirteen American heroes were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

To make that point crystal clear, shortly before her death, Nicole Gee posted a photo of herself holding a baby during the evacuation and expressing how much she loved her job.

She died less than a week later.

Take a moment today to remember the 13 great Americans who never made it home after Aug. 26, 2021. While you’re at it, take a moment to remember all those before them who put on the uniform and never saw America again. We thank them, we honor them and we will never forget them.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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  1. Biden’s “extraordinary success” where he “planned for all contingencies.” Then blew up an aid worker and 6 kids, called them terrorists, and high-fived himself until the NYT called him on it. Never mind the hundreds of Afghan allies he abandoned to the Taliban. Or the $85 billion in US military weaponry he gave them, along with a list of names of aforementioned allies. Nope, it was an “extraordinary success.”

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