House passes bill to give Congressional Gold Medal to 13 US service members killed in Afghanistan
They were killed in a bomb blast outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
After 13 U.S. troops were killed in an August bomb blast outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport Kabul in August, the House passed a bill Monday evening to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to them.
Eleven Marines, one Navy sailor and one Army soldier died from the blastset off by a suicide bomber near the airport on Aug. 26. Several Afghans and 18 U.S. service members were also injured.
"The American servicemembers went above and beyond the call of duty to protect citizens of the United States and our allies to ensure they are brought to safety in an extremely dangerous situation as the Taliban regained control over Afghanistan," the legislation says.
The medal is Congress' highest expression of national appreciation and is the highest civilian award in the United States.
The honor has been bestowed fewer than 200 times. Some recipients include mathematician Katherine Johnson, The Little Rock Nine and Holocasut survivor Elie Wiesel.
Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., sponsored the bill in August to "make sure we honor these servicemembers who paid the ultimate sacrifice."
"Their sacrifice for our country and its allies will never be forgotten and I'm encouraged by the overwhelming bipartisan support for this legislation, which has 325 cosponsors. I urge the Senate to quickly pass this bill so we can properly honor these fallen servicemembers," she told ABC News.
The unanimous vote was a rare bipartisan triumph. Now that the bill has cleared the House, it will head to the Senate.
Once the bill is signed into law, the medal will be handed over to the Smithsonian Institution and displayed there.
The names of the troops are: Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Sgt. Nicole Gee, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan Page, Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, Hospitalman Maxton Soviak and Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss.
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