WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — A bill to posthumously honor 13 servicemembers killed in Afghanistan with the Congressional Gold Medal is headed to President Joe Biden's desk.
The Senate passed the bill Thursday to award those killed in the Aug. 26 attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Among those killed was Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez of Logansport.
“America honors the bravery and selfless service of the 13 service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, including Indiana’s own Corporal Humberto 'Bert' Sanchez,” said Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, who cosponsored the bill. “Bert gave his life protecting strangers thousands of miles from home. He was the best, not just of the Marine Corps, but of this country. It is fitting that we award these heroes the Congressional Gold Medal.”
As many as 200 people died in the attack, which was later confirmed to be a suicide bombing orchestrated by the ISIS-K terrorist group.
Other servicemembers killed in the attack include Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 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.
The bill passed the House of Representatives last month.
“Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez and 12 of his brothers and sisters in arms paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. These courageous service members stood in the face of danger to evacuate American citizens, partners, and allies from Afghanistan,” said Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, after the House passed the bill. “It is now our duty to honor their selfless sacrifice and ensure that these heroes are never forgotten. I am proud that our bipartisan legislation to award these 13 Americans with the Congressional Gold Medal passed the House, and I encourage the Senate to quickly advance it to the president’s desk.”
Logansport murals honor fallen service members
According to the bill, once the president signs his approval, a single Congressional Gold Medal will be made in honor of all 13 servicemembers. The medal will then be presented to the Smithsonian Institution for display at the museum or other locations that are associated with the fallen servicemembers.
Sanchez was laid to rest Sept. 14 at a ceremony attended by former Vice President Mike Pence, Young, Sen. Mike Braun and Gov. Eric Holcomb.