Honors the 13 U.S. Servicemembers Killed During the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – President Joseph R. Biden today signed a bill into law to honor the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed on August 26, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan during the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. 

Congressman Tom Rice co-sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 5142, which posthumously awards the Congressional Gold Medal to these 13 brave Americans.  

“It was my honor to co-sponsor a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed during the Afghanistan withdrawal. Today, it was signed into law. These heroes died helping innocent civilians, our Afghan partners, and their fellow U.S. servicemembers during an ISIS attack. As a nation, we are grateful for their sacrifice and we will always honor their memory,” said Congressman Tom Rice.

The bill states: “The American servicemembers 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 legislation will award the Congressional Gold Medal to Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Sgt. Nicole Gee, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan Page, Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, Hospitalman Maxton Soviak and Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss. 

As of June 2021, the Congressional Gold Medal had only been awarded to 173 people or institutions since the award was created in 1776.

Background:

This bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on August 31, 2021 and passed unanimously on October 25, 2021. The bill passed in the U.S. Senate unanimously on November 17, 2021. It was signed into law on December 16, 2021. 

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