We’ve been learning more about the identities of the 13 soldiers that were killed during the tragic Hamid Karzai International Airport attack in Afghanistan on Thursday, Aug.26 including USMC Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo. The 25-year-old Lawrence, Mass. native, died while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations in Afghanistan, the Dept. of Defense announced. Rosario was assigned to the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Two suicide bombers and gunmen opened fire at the airport in Kabul as crowds attempted to escape following the Taliban takeover. The attacks also killed at least 169 Afghans, according Afghan and U.S. officials the ABC Boston affiliate WCVB-TV, reported.
“Johanny Rosario was a special being in our community, full of light and armed with valor and bravery, who at the young age of 18 decided to raise her hand to serve our country as a member of the United States Marine Corps,” Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez said during a press conference. He described her as “a daughter of our city” and officially declared that the city is observing a period of mourning and ordered all flags on most city properties to be lowered to half-staff.
Rosario is a 2014 graduate of Lawrence High School, where she was a member of the Junior ROTC program and she’s survived by her mom and sister who also live in Lawrence. “In a conversation with her mother (Friday), she spoke of her daughter as a vibrant young person who wanted to give back to the community, and as a result of that, it is her mother’s desire that Johanny will be brought back to the city of Lawrence as the hero she is and I encourage all Lawrencians to be a part of this process,” Vasquez said.
In May, Rosario was honored by her unit, the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The Dominican Republic’s embassy in the United States tweeted confirming that she’s originally from the island and expressed their condolences.
Expresamos nuestro más sentido pésame a los familiares y amigos de la joven de origen dominicano, Johanny Rosario Pichardo, de 25 años, quien fue una de las víctimas del reciente ataque terrorista en el aeropuerto de Kabul, Afganistán. pic.twitter.com/ZHUZQRngBV
— Embajada Dominicana en Estados Unidos (@DREmbassy) August 28, 2021
The other solider who died during the attack are: Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California; Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California; Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska; Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana; Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas; Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri; Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming; Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California; and Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California. Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio, and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.