The Kabul Attack Death Toll

What we know of the American servicemembers killed.

When news that American military personnel have been killed comes out, those of us who have personal ties to those serving anxiously await for the names to see if anyone we know was lost. Defense Department policy is to hold the names for 24 hours after next of kin have been officially notified but, in the age of social media, family and friends often release the names more quickly. Now we have all of the names:

  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, Jackson, Wyo.
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, of Wentzville, Mo.
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Tex.
  • Navy Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, Calif.
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, Calif.
  • Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, 31, of Utah
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, of Omaha
  • Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn.
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario, 25, Lawrence, Mass.
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22, Logansport, Ind.
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, Calif.
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

I cobbled these together from WaPo and NYPost reports, both of which have more biographical details on the men.

Another two were lost and at least eighteen injured in the attack but, thus far, none of the names are of people I knew.

As I was reflecting on the events with students in seminar, I noted that, having taught at the Marine Command and Staff College the last eight years (indeed, the attack occurred on the anniversary of my first day in 2013) I had taught probably a hundred Marine officers who are now majors or lieutenant colonels. But, of course, they know a whole lot more Marines than I do (a single battalion has anywhere between 500 and 1000 and most of them have served in several different battalions at this point in their career) and, more importantly, knew a whole lot more young Marines, particularly in the enlisted force.

With the exception of SSgt Hoover and SSG Knauss, all of the men listed above were very young, likely in their first enlistment. Most of them were in diapers when the Twin Towers fell and the first US forces invaded Afghanistan in response.

In light of the rising anti-immigrant sentiment of the last few years, it’s worth noting the diversity of their last names. A lot of folks of other than Anglo-Saxon extraction are putting their lives on the line in our service.

Two of them—Sergeants Rosario and Gee— were women.

*I have updated the names in the list above based on the most current update to the above WaPo report and made slight modifications to the post as information flowed in.

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    There are photos and additional biographical information here:

    http://www.nypost.com/2021/08/27/these-are-the-us-service-members-killed-in-kabul-airport-attack/

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  2. mattbernius says:

    Unfortunate short thread about the female Marine killed and people’s reactions to a photo of her that had circulated in the media prior to the attack.

    https://twitter.com/poke_m0m/status/1431594242699313152

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  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    John Kerry’s question about being the last to die, implies that the life was wasted. The deaths of these military personnel turns that on its head, as they were doing something useful for the benefit of their comrades and Afghani’s, who they had no connection too. Heroic is probably too strong a description, but they were certainly dutiful and selfless.

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  4. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I spent over a decade in the Joint community so I came to love Marines. Honest, straight shooting, to the point, and decisive. I should also add that the majority of the Combat Arms types joined for the chance to get in a gun fight for Team America.

    You didn’t need intel to understand that a throng of people at the Airport gates were prime targets for IEDs and VBIEDs. This was a standard threat vector over the years there to suicide bomb checkpoints. Those Marines fully understood the danger but were controlling their assigned AO. Im sure they were afraid–at least– before and after duty. Courage is not the absence of fear–but doing it while being afraid.

    I don’t believe any war death is in vain. At the end of the day–its not about the politics or the national objectives. I approached my military service as providing a catalyst to developing elements of my personal being that could not otherwise be developed had I had a high pressure job in Corporate American selling widgets.

    These Marines embarked on a path of the Profession of Arms–sometimes that path is cut short but nonetheless is meaningful in personal terms and for the relationships fostered along the way.

    Til Valhalla

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  5. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    John Kerry’s question about being the last to die, implies that the life was wasted.

    I’ve never understood that last to die question. Asking someone to be the next to die to continue a failed war seems worse. And given Kerry’s politics… I almost think he just bumbled it, and everyone has been pretending what he said made sense for the past 50 years. Alternately, I am dumb.

    Anyway, these soldiers were killed doing something extremely valuable and morally just. I hope that gives their families a little bit of peace.

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