Display memorializing 13 service members killed in Kabul attack vandalized, flags shredded in California

Display memorializing 13 service members killed in Kabul
attack vandalized, flags shredded in California 1

RIVERSIDE, CA – A memorial made of 13 American Flags and one Marine Corps flag to honor the American service members killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul Airport during the Biden administration’s frantic withdrawal was vandalized on Labor Day, with each flag torn.

The memorial was put up on a fence above the Ivy Street overpass over Interstate 95 in Riverside. The display was in remembrance of the fallen service members, according to the Riverside Police Department’s Facebook page:

“Recently after the deaths of our 13 United States Service Members killed in Afghanistan, 13 American Flags and one Marine Corps flag were placed on the fence to the Ivy Street overpass to the 91 Freeway in Riverside as a memorial.

“Sometime yesterday, an observant citizen noticed the flags appeared to be damaged and it was reported to the police.”

California was hit hard by the deaths, as many of the service members were hometown heroes based out of Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. The service members from Camp Pendleton included nine Marines and one sailor with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and 1st Marine Division:

  • Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, Calif.
  • Humberto Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Ind.
  • Daegan Page, 23, of Omaha, Neb.
  • Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Mo.
  • Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, Calif.
  • Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
  • Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyo.
  • Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas
  • Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio
  • https://twitter.com/RepNancyMace/status/1433430406175485961


The memorial also honored three other service members killed in the attack who were based in other regions of the country:

  • Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn.
  • Marine Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, Calif.
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.

The flags were intentionally ripped and torn, and police said they are searching for the vandals. Photos of the damaged flags were posted online by the Riverside Police Department.

Police were made aware of the criminal mischief by a group called “What is  going on in Riverside County” group, who posted photographs of the torn flags online. Police thank the group for “bringing this crime to our attention.”

Police said there are no suspects in the crime:

 “At this point, we don’t have any suspect description but it’s obvious the flags were intentionally damaged.”

Police praised two citizens who helped the police take down the flags and turned them over to local Boy Scout Troop 703 for proper retirement:

“We want to thank the group ‘What is Going on in Riverside County’ for bringing this crime to our attention.

“With help from two citizens, the flags were carefully removed and will be turned over later today to local Boy Scout Troop 703 for proper retirement.”

No arrests have been made.

Police are asking the public for help:

“If you have any information as to who vandalized these flags placed on this freeway overpass to honor the 13 Fallen Service Members, please contact our Property Crimes Unit at (951) 353-7955.”

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Families of service members killed in Kabul suicide bombing lash out at Biden: ‘Hope he burns in hell’

September 1, 2021

DOVER, DE – According to reports, President Joe Biden did not exactly receive the warmest of welcomes while attending the transfer of remains of the 13 soldiers who were killed in Kabul earlier in August during a suicide bombing, as one person reportedly screamed at President Biden that she hopes he burns “in hell”.

Mark Schmitz, the father of Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, a 20-year-old soldier who died in the suicide bombings outside Kabul Airport, spoke to the Washington Post about the enraged woman on the tarmac, claiming she screamed the following at President Biden:

“I hope you burn in hell! That was my brother.”

Schmitz said he went to the ceremony with his ex-wife and was particularly upset over President Biden shifting the attention to the death of his son Beau Biden, who passed away from cancer after having served in the military:

“When he just kept talking about his son so much it was just — my interest was lost in that. I was more focused on my own son than what happened with him and his son. I’m not trying to insult the president, but it just didn’t seem that appropriate to spend that much time on his own son.”

Speaking with the Post, Schmitz said he stated the following during the ceremony:

“I said, ‘Don’t you ever forget that name. Don’t you ever forget that face. Don’t you ever forget the names of the other 12. And take some time to learn their stories.’”

Schmitz said that President Biden proclaimed, “I do know their stories,” during the interaction. The father of the fallen service member conveyed the shuddering moment when the president tried to engage in a warm embrace, and his sudden feeling of knowing that President Biden is somewhat culpable in his son’s death:

“It’s got to be difficult. I’m not saying it was easy at all. But you can’t run up and hug someone as if you had nothing to do with it. It’s not going to work that way when you’re commander-in-chief.”

Jiennah McCollum, the pregnant wife of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, was also among those who felt that President Biden’s words seemed “scripted and shallow” and was upset over seeing the president checking his watch during the ceremony.

McCollum’s sister, Roice, had some more strong language to describe her sentiments regarding the president:

“My dad and I did not want to speak to him. You cannot kneel on our flag and pretend you care about our troops.”

“You can’t fuck up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry. This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands.”

In a post from August 27th, the pregnant wife of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. McCollum, Jiennah McCollum, shared the following post to Facebook bemoaning the loss of her husband and knowing their child will never get to meet their father:

“I lost my best friend. And nothing will ever make that hurt less. He would’ve been the best dad. I wish he could see how much of an impact he made on this world. I’m so proud to call him my husband.  But I just wanted to say thank you for all the love and support I’ve received today. Times like this it’s all I can ask for. Much love to the other families affected by this. They are all heroes forever.”

A GoFundMe has been established to help ensure this fallen Marine’s yet-to-born child and widow are taken care of while navigating this loss.

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