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Sen. Hyde-Smith cosponsors bill to...

Sen. Hyde-Smith cosponsors bill to honor 13 American heroes killed in Afghanistan

By: Anne Summerhays - September 17, 2021

The legislation will award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 Armed Forces members who perished.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) is an original cosponsor of legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 American service members who lost their lives last month during a terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Hyde-Smith is among the 35 original sponsors of S.2756.

S.2756 is  a measure that honors the 13 Armed Forces members who died on August 26th in a terrorist attack to disrupt the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan allies at the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

The bill states, “The American service members 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 American service members exemplified extreme bravery and valor against armed enemy combatants. The American service members dedicated their lives and their heroism deserves great honor.”

The legislation will award the Congressional Gold Medal to Staff 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.

Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. This award was bestowed on diverse individuals as Sir Winston Churchill and Bob Hope, George Washington and Robert Frost, Joe Louis and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

“These brave young servicemen and servicewomen served valiantly in terrible and dangerous circumstances to help save fellow Americans and allies.  Their heartbreaking loss at the hands of terrorists deserves the highest recognition no matter how one views the flawed U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I hope Congress acts quickly to honor these heroes and the families they left behind.”

U.S. Representative Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) introduced a companion measure, HR.5142, in the House of Representatives.  All members of the Mississippi delegation in the House cosponsored that legislation.

“These heroic men and women are gone far too soon, and we must honor them for their bravery in helping U.S. citizens and Afghan allies safely evacuate Afghanistan,” said Rep. McClain. “My heart aches for the families and loved ones of our servicemembers. We will always remember their service and pay tribute to their sacrifice.”i

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: