Bipartisan Sens Bill Seeks to Honor 13 Military Killed in Kabul Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 15 September 2021 10:41 PM
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., introduced a bill Wednesday that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 military members killed Aug. 26 in a Kabul, Afghanistan, suicide bombing.
"Thirteen brave men and women gave the last full measure to protect Americans & our Afghan allies at a critical moment in our nation's history," Daines wrote in a statement. "They are American heroes.
"As the U.S. concludes 20-years of combat in Afghanistan, I believe it's fitting that Congress commemorates their sacrifice in this moment with the Congressional Gold Medal. On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you to these heroes and their families, and to all who wear the uniform and protect our freedom."
Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan W. Page, Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, and Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knaus were all killed during a suicide bombing by the ISIS-K terrorist organization at the airport in Kabul. American forces tried to manage an airlift to evacuate thousands of Americans, third-country nationals, and Afghan refugees following the Taliban's takeover of the country Aug. 14.
Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., introduced a similar bill in the House.
President Joe Biden went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Aug. 29 for the Dignified Transfer of the remains of the slain soldiers.
If passed by Congress and signed by Biden, the soldiers' medal will be displayed with other recipients at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the "highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions."
Past recipients include George Washington, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, and other icons in U.S. history.
The group would join other honored servicemen such as John Paul Jones, former President and Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, World War II Gen. John J. Pershing, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, The Tuskegee Airmen, U.S. Army 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service, American Fighter Aces, and World War II members of the 17th Bombardment Group known as "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders," among many others.
"These individuals demonstrated incredible courage throughout their careers, and we owe it to them to pass legislation to recognize their heroic service with the Congressional Gold Medal," Warren told The Hill.