Sacramento, California - Governor Gavin Newsom Saturday issued the following statement regarding the 13 U.S. service members killed in the terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021. Among the fallen were: Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, CA; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, CA; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, CA; and Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, OH, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton.
“California joins the nation in mourning the tragic loss of 13 U.S. service members, including those from California, and many other innocent victims in this heinous attack.
“Our heroic troops gave their lives to protect others amid harrowing and dangerous conditions, and we will never forget their bravery and selfless sacrifice in service to our nation.
“Jennifer and I send our deepest condolences to all the families grieving the loss of loved ones and offer our best wishes for the recovery of the service members who were injured. We stand with the Afghan American community during this difficult time.”
Sgt. Nicole L. Gee was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, NC. Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola and Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA. Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA. They were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
The Governor has ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims.