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Details Emerge of Americans Killed at Kabul Airport

A young dad-to-be, a 20-year-old Californian, a future policeman
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 28, 2021 7:30 AM CDT
Dad-To-Be, 20, Among Americans Killed in Kabul
Rylee McCollum, right, and friend at Christmas in in Jackson, Wyo.   (Regi Stone via AP)

(Newser) – A young husband with a child on the way. Another man who always wanted to be in the military. A man who planned to become a sheriff’s deputy when his deployment ended. Heartwrenching details began emerging Friday about some of the 13 US troops killed in a suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport, which also claimed the lives of more than 160 Afghans. Here are details about some of the victims, per the AP:

  • Rylee McCollum, 20: The Marine and native of Bondurant, Wyoming, was married, and his wife is expecting a baby in three weeks, his sister, Cheyenne McCollum, said. “He was so excited to be a dad, and he was going to be a great dad," McCollum said. She said her brother “was a Marine before he knew he was allowed to be a Marine."
  • Kareem Mae'Lee Grant Nikoui, 20: The Norco, California man sent videos to his family hours before he died, in which he spoke with children in Afghanistan. In one clip, he asked a young boy “Want to take a video together buddy?” Close family friend Paul Arreola said the videos show "the heart of this young man, the love he has."

  • Jared Schmitz, 20: The Marine from near St. Louis was among a group of Marines sent back to Afghanistan to assist with evacuation efforts. His father Mark Schmitz said his son always wanted to be a Marine. “This was something he always wanted to do, and I never seen a young man train as hard as he did to be the best soldier he could be,” Schmitz said.
  • Taylor Hoover, 31: The Utah man had been in the Marines for 11 years and was remembered as a hero who died serving others, his father Darin Hoover said. “He is a hero. He gave his life protecting those that can’t protect themselves, doing what he loved serving his country,” said Hoover.

  • Deagan William-Tyeler Page, 23: The corporal served in the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton, California, and planned to go to trade school and possibly become a lineman after his enlistment ended, his family said. He is mourned by his girlfriend, parents, stepmom and stepdad, four siblings and grandparents.
  • Ryan Knauss, 23: An Army Staff Sgt., the Tennessee native's grandfather told WATE-TV Ryan was a "motivated young man who loved his country...He was a believer, so we will see him again in God’s heaven.”

  • Hunter Lopez, 22: Hunter Lopez, whose parents work at the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in California, joined the Marine Corps in 2017. Bianco said Lopez planned to follow in his parents' footsteps and become a Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy after his deployment.
  • David Lee Espinoza, 20: The Marine from Laredo, Texas joined the military after high school. “He was just brave enough to go do what he wanted and to help out people. That’s who he was, he was just perfect," his mother, Elizabeth Holguin, told the Laredo Morning Times.
(Read more Kabul stories.)

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