WASHINGTON - The sailor killed in the suicide bomber attack during the evacuation mission in Afghanistan late last month has been posthumously promoted, according to the Navy. And he and the other 12 service members who died during the attack have been awarded Purple Hearts.
The 13 troops were killed Aug. 26 as they were helping to screen Afghans and others at the Abbey Gate of the Kabul airport. At least 169 Afghans were also killed in the bombing, as they struggled to get into the airport and on flights out of the country.
Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio, was promoted to the rank of hospital corpsman third class, and in addition to the Purple Heart was also awared the Fleet Marine Force Corpsman warfare badge. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
"Petty Officer Soviak gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country," said Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, adding that his skills as a hospital corpsman and devotion to the mission warranted the promotion and recognition.
Also awarded the Purple Heart were Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.; and 11 Marines: Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts.; Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California; Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California; Cpl. Daegan Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska; Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana; Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas; Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri; Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming; Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California.