What we know about US service members killed in Kabul airport attack


(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Thirteen American troops were among the nearly 200 people killed in an attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Thursday.

A detonation set off by an ISIS-K suicide bomber near the airport’s Abbey Gate amid evacuation efforts killed at least 170 Afghans, including several children, as well as two Brits and a child of a British citizen, according to Afghan and British officials.

President Joe Biden called the U.S. service members killed in the attack “heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others.”

Those killed included 11 Marines, as well as an Army soldier and a Navy medic, U.S. officials said.

“Those warriors who died gave their lives to save thousands of men, women and children, Americans and Afghans alike,” Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, said in a statement. “Their courage and selflessness represent the highest ideals of America. We pay solemn tribute to their sacrifice.”

The names of the service members are being released 24 hours after next-of-kin notifications, though some of those killed have been identified by family and officials. Here’s what we know about them so far.

Navy Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak, of Ohio, was “very proud” to serve his country, his mother said in a statement to ABC News.

“He was very passionate about helping his fellow Americans and trying to get them home safely,” Rachel Soviak said. “There are no words to describe the pain our family is feeling. There will forever be a hole in our hearts.”

The family is praying for the troops to arrive home safely, she said.

Max Soviak was a 2017 graduate of Edison High School in Milan, Ohio. School leaders remembered him as “full of life in everything he did.”

“Max was a good student who was active in sports and other activities throughout his school career,” Superintendent Thomas Roth said in a statement. “He was well respected and liked by everyone who knew him.”

Marine David Espinoza was a native of Laredo, Texas, according to Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who released a statement confirming his death.

“Mr. Espinoza embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor,” Cuellar said. “When he joined the military after high school, he did so with the intention of protecting our nation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service.”

Espinoza graduated from Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Laredo in 2019 and is survived by his brother, mother and stepfather, Cuellar’s office said.

Marine Rylee McCollum, of Bondurant, Wyoming, was among the service members killed, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon confirmed.

“I’m devastated to learn Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul,” Gordon said on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Rylee McCollum of Bondurant.”

Marine Kareem Nikoui was among those killed in the attack, ABC News has confirmed.

Nikoui “always wanted to be a Marine,” his father, Steve Nikoui, a carpenter in California, told the Daily Beast.

“He was devoted — he was going to make a career out of this, and he wanted to go,” Nikoui told the outlet. “No hesitation for him to be called to duty.”

Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez was the son of two members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in Southern California — Capt. Herman Lopez and Deputy Alicia Lopez — the department said.

The 22-year-old planned on “following his parents’ footsteps” and becoming a deputy himself upon returning home from his deployment, Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a Facebook post announcing his death.

As a teen, Lopez was a Riverside Sheriff’s Explorer Scout with the Palm Desert Station. After graduating from La Quinta High School, he joined the Marine Corps in September 2017, Bianco said.

“Like his parents who serve our community, being a Marine to Hunter wasn’t a job; it was a calling,” the Riverside Sheriff’s Association said in a statement. “He loved his family, and as we grieve for Hunter and his fellow Marines taken from us too soon, there are simply no words to express how deeply he will be missed.”

His family is requesting all donations be made to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation in their name.

-ABC News’ Alondra Valle and Zunaira Zaki contributed to this report.

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