Kentucky delegation votes to award Congressional Gold Medal to 13 fallen soldiers

The legislation will now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration

WASHINGTON, Dc. (WTVQ/ABC) – The House Monday evening unanimously approved awarding a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal to each of the 13 fallen U.S. military servicemembers who were killed in a terrorist attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 26, 2021. The entire Kentucky delegation joined in voting for the measure.

“Thirteen heroic military servicemembers gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that American citizens and our Afghan allies could escape the threat of the Taliban, ISIS, and other terrorist actors in Afghanistan during the withdrawal.  I proudly cosponsored and voted tonight for the bill awarding these patriots the Congressional Gold Medal. The legacy of these American heroes will never be forgotten,” said Sixth District Kentucky Republican Andy Barr.

The names of the fallen servicemembers receiving the posthumous Congressional Gold Medal are:

  • Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio
  • Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California
  • Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas
  • Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, Jackson, Wyoming
  • Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, of Wentzville, Missouri
  • Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California
  • Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska
  • Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, California
  • Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22, Logansport, Indiana
  • Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California
  • Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, Lawrence, Massachusetts and

·       Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee

“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 says.

The medal is Congress’ highest expression of national appreciation and is the highest civilian award in the United States.

Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., sponsored the bill in August to “make sure we honor these servicemembers who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

“Their sacrifice for our country and its allies will never be forgotten and I’m encouraged by the overwhelming bipartisan support for this legislation, which has 325 cosponsors. I urge the Senate to quickly pass this bill so we can properly honor these fallen servicemembers,” she told ABC News.

The unanimous vote was a rare bipartisan triumph. Now that the bill has cleared the House, it will head to the Senate.

Once the bill is signed into law, the medal will be handed over to the Smithsonian Institution and displayed there.

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