Cpl. Humberto Sanchez grew up in Logansport, Indiana. During his school years, he took honors
Jones said Sanchez played on the school’s varsity soccer team, was a dedicated artist who took many classes along with honors and dual credit college courses, and that he was a “bright, athletic young man who was popular, well-liked by his soccer teammates, classmates, coaches and teachers.”
Sanchez was one of 17 of his classmates to enlist right after graduation. While in the Marine Corps he made plenty of friends with his humor and story telling charms. His good friend and fellow Marine, who served with him stateside and oversees, recalled the kind of friend Sanchez was to everyone.
Then he added to it. “You live with each other, you eat with each other, you cry with each other, you drink with each other, you just do everything together,” said Leota. “All we have is each other. When we’re on deployment, that’s your buddies when you don’t have Wi-Fi or service. You talk to your loved ones back home, but they don’t know what you’re going through. The only people who really do are the ones who are there with you.”
He said during their time in the field, which could be for days at a time, Sanchez would tell jokes and help keep the morale high. He said he was also a great storyteller.
After the bombing in Kabul, he spoke with some of their Marine buddies. They had carried Sanchez’s body to the plane to go back home and it was the hardest thing they had ever done. Leota wants everyone to know his friend, Cpl. Humberto Sanchez was a kind and caring person. He was glad to have known him.
Congressman Henry Cuellar released a statement following his death:
"Mr. Espinoza embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor. When he joined the military after high school, he did so with the intention of protecting our nation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service. Mr. Espinoza is a hero.”
He is survived by his brother, mother, and stepfather. ~ News Source ~ News Source
Lance Cpl Jared M. Schmitz, USMC — Tribute by JaxDem
Jared Schmitz was born in February 2001 in Wentzville, Missouri and was seven months old when the 9/11 attacks occurred.
Jared’s father, Mark Schmitz spoke through tears about his brave son. “Amazing kid, amazing young man, with a big future that’s now been cut short.” He described Jared as a patriot and a dedicated Marine making the decision to enlist early in his high school years at Fort Zumwalt South High School where he graduated in 2019.
Mark recalled fondly the family teasing Jared about his choice to join the Marine Corps since all the other veterans in the family were Navy. “We used to give him trouble about it. But of course, now we look back on it with admiration.” ~ News Source
Lance Cpl Jared Schmitz died saving other families’ lives: James Wright served in the same unit as Schmitz ten years prior. Wright shared his story with Fox2Now:
Wright has been instrumental in obtaining a Special Immigrant VISA for the Afghan interpreter and his family from his 2010-2011 deployment in Afghanistan. The interpreter, his wife and three daughters went through the same gate that Schmitz was guarding just five days earlier. They arrived in the United States on Thursday, the day of the bombing.
“His actions actually benefited a family coming to America, where their lives and this family lives and this history for years to come is because of the selfless act and the job that he did over there. What he did changed the course of an entire bloodline.”
There can be no finer, nobler tribute to these brave US Marines,US Navy Corpsman and US Army Soldier guarding those gates than to acknowledge all the lives and future bloodlines they saved.
Lance Cpl Rylee J. McCollum, USMC — Tribute by Ekaterin
Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum was born on Feb. 26, 2001, in Riverton, Wyoming, and was still a baby
when 9/11 occurred. In high school he enjoyed wrestling, mixed martial arts, American history, and training younger kids in the brawling sport. At age 18, after his 2019 high school graduation, he enlisted in the Marines.
His love for the military blossomed at just 3 years old. According to his sister,
“He wanted to be a Marine his whole life and as a toddler carried around his rifle in his diapers and cowboy boots.”
Shortly after his 2019 graduation, he met his wife Jiennah in San Diego. They married last summer and were expecting their first baby in three weeks, on September 22. His father said, "He would've been a great father...He died doing what he loved and with the ones he cared about, doing the right thing. He always wanted to be on the side of right, the side of righteousness. He did exactly what he lived his life doing.”
McCollum’s goal after the Marines was to become a history teacher and wrestling coach. He was manning an airport checkpoint in Kabul when the bomb exploded and took his life.
He is survived by his wife and unborn child, his parents and siblings.
~ News Source ~ News Source ~ News Source
Lance Cpl Dylan R. Merola, USMC — Tribute by JaxDem
Lance Cpl Dylan R. Merola’s final phone Lance Cpl Dylan R. Merola’s final phone message to his mother was: “Mom, I won't be able to talk to you for a little while. We’re being sent to a different location. I love you and I will talk to you as soon as I get home.”
Dylan Merola was a 2019 graduate of Los Osos High School and the students honored his memory at this season’s first football game by wearing red, white and blue in his honor.
School board member Gil Zendejas remarked: “A lot of our students commit to the military after they get out of school and we’re so proud of all of them. Our hearts and prayers and go out to his family and friends. Unfortunately, we have another Gold Star Family in our district.” ~ News Source
Dylan’s uncle said this in a statement: "Dylan loved doing stage set up and technical theater at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga. He was the kind of person who would always be there for his friends and just enjoyed hanging out with family for family cook nights. They would hike, fish, kayak and spend time just being together. He will be truly missed and always in our hearts." ~ News Source
Lance Cpl Kareem M. Nikoui, USMC — Tribute by noweasels
Marine Corps Lance Corporal Nikoui was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.
Lance Corporal Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui, of Norco, California, sent videos to his family hours
before he died, showing himself interacting with children in Afghanistan. In one of the clips, he asked a young boy to say hello.
“Want to take a video together buddy?” Nikoui said, leaning in to take a video of himself with the boy. “All right, we’re heroes now, man.”
“The family is just heartbroken,” (family friend Paul Arreola) said. Arreola described Nikoui as an “amazing young man” full of promise who always wanted to be a Marine and set out to achieve his goal. He is survived by his parents and three siblings.
Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui graduated from Norco High School in 2019 in Norco, California. He is survived by his mother, father and siblings, according to the city.
The city said his name will be enshrined on the "Lest We Forget Wall" at the George A. Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza that honors residents from Norco who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. Source
Nikoui’s father, Steve Nikoui, said in an interview with the Daily Beast that his son loved serving his country and had “always wanted to be Marine.” He was stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.
“He really loved that [Marine Corps] family,” the father said. “He was devoted—he was going to make a career out of this, and he wanted to go. No hesitation for him to be called to duty.” KTLA News
In a statement, the Norco High School Air Force JROTC said the 20-year-old Nikoui was "one of the best" of its 2019 graduates.
"Kareem was set on being a Marine & always wanted to serve his country. Kareem made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and his memory will live on forever," the JROTC said in a statement.
Navy Hospitalman Maxton “Max” W. Soviak, USN — Tribute by noweasels
Hospitalman Soviak was a 2017 graduate of Edison High School where he was on the football, track, wrestling, and tennis teams and was in the school band, according to Thomas Roth, superintendent of Edison Local School District.
The news of Soviak's death was "devastating for us," Roth said Friday.
“He just enjoyed life, he was full of life. He was a good kid, a good student and people just enjoyed being around him,” the superintendent said.
Edison Chargers Head Coach Jim Hall said Soviak was loyal, honest, tough and a great friend. But above all else, he was passionate.
“He kind of wore his emotions on his sleeve, and that’s how he played football for us too,” Hall said.
He said Soviak loved a challenge, and he doesn’t think anyone was surprised when Soviak chose to serve his country after high school. Akron Beacon Journal
Staff Sgt Ryan C. Knauss, USA — written by Sandy on Signal
From the Department of Defense: Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss was assigned to 9th PSYOP Battalion, 8th PSYOP Group, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
Evelena Knauss heard about the 12 Marines and Navy Sailor and had been praying for them and
their families, when she got the news about her grandson.
“We were led to think that it was 12 Marines and one Navy, and we knew our grandson was in the Army," Evelena Knauss said. "So we were praying for the families of the Marines, not knowing our grandson was one of the ones who lost his life. ... You just don’t think it will be yours, I’m sure that you’ve heard that before.”
Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss grew up in Corryton, TN and graduated from Gibbs High School. Immediately after graduation, he joined the Army. He was on his second deployment and was assigned to the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
His step-mother, Linnae Knauss, told WATE he was smart and funny. He looked forward to coming home, then he and his wife planned to move to Washington D.C. He enjoyed helping his wife in their garden and built her a greenhouse.
A High School History teacher, Dean Harned, told WBIR News:
"Ryan was one of those young men that when he walked in my door, like a typical Gibbs kid, you're gonna get a lot of 'yes sirs' and 'no sirs,'" Harned said. "He was always extremely respectful."
Harned remembers his smile the most and how he could turn someone's bad day into a good day.
"He just made class fun," Harned said. "His classmates absolutely adored him."
Funeral arrangements are pending. Rest in Peace, Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss.
Tonight as always in an IGTNT posting, we ask
that as we all honor these brave men and women,
let us keep in mind that this is a memorial diary,
not a place for politics. Family members of the
fallen read all of our condolences, and our purpose
is to remember and honor their loved ones.
Thank you for joining us. And thank you to the
IGTNT Team for this group effort of love and
devotion in honoring our nation’s heroes.
** Special Thank You to IGTNT Team Members maggiejean and Spamnunn who sent articles and photos to assist us in our write-ups **