Bustos Statement on Signing of Legislation Honoring Service Members Killed in Afghanistan

MOLINE — Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) released the following statement on the signing of legislation to posthumously award a Congressional Gold Medal honoring service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. On August 26, 2021, during the emergency evacuation of citizens of the United States and vulnerable Afghan allies at Hamid Karzai International Airport, 13 American service members lost their lives and 18 were injured.

 “On August 26th, 13 brave service members were killed as a suicide bomber attacked American forces in Kabul. These dedicated men and women, along with 18 others who were injured, were assisting with a critical mission to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport during the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan allies.

“They represented the best of service to our nation as they bravely fought to protect American citizens and our vulnerable allies. While we can never repay our debt for the sacrifice they made, we must ensure they receive proper recognition. I applaud President Biden for signing legislation today to award these heroes the Congressional Gold Medal.” 

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.

Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event. Initially bestowed on military leaders, recipients now include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreigners.