September 21, 2021

Van Hollen, Cardin Help Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Honor 13 American Heroes Killed in Afghanistan with Congressional Gold Medals

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) along with Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have introduced bipartisan legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to the 13 American servicemembers who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26th.

“These 13 servicemembers risked their own lives to save others in the face of terrorist attacks in Kabul. To honor that ultimate sacrifice and ensure that their courage and bravery is never forgotten, it is wholly fitting that we recognize these American heroes with Congressional Gold Medals – Congress’ highest expression of appreciation,” Senator Van Hollen said. “We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude we owe these soldiers and their families, but we are forever thankful for their service and must do everything in our power to bring to justice those who committed these heinous acts.”  

“The Congressional Gold Medal was created to convey our highest appreciation for distinguished national service, and the 13 service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan on August 26 certainly merit this exceptional distinction,” Senator Cardin said. “Since the Revolutionary War, the Congressional Gold Medal has underscored the completeness of the commitment of exceptional Americans, and the men and women whose lives were taken in Kabul while they facilitated a humanitarian evacuation have demonstrated for future generations of Americans what it means to be a hero.”  

The bill would provide Congressional Gold Medals to 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. Knauss.

Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) have also cosponsored the bill.

Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.