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Congresswoman Lisa McClain Introduces Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medals to Fallen Servicemembers

August 31, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI), alongside 158 cosponsors, introduced legislation to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. military servicemembers who were killed in Afghanistan last week.

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.

“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.”

“These servicemembers risked their lives to uphold America’s highest values. They are heroes, and their legacy will be the thousands of Afghans who are alive today because these brave men and women put their lives on the line to give them a ticket to freedom. We must never forget,” said Rep. Moulton.

“My and my family’s prayers go to the families of those who lost their lives in this senseless violence. I am grateful for this opportunity to honor these brave service members who made the ultimate sacrifice working to keep our families safe,” said Rep. Joe Wilson.

"There are thirteen more Gold Star families this week, and that is a heartbreaking fact, but they should take comfort knowing that their sons and daughters did not give their lives in vain.  They gave the fullest measure of devotion to our country, our flag, their brothers and sisters in arms and the innocent lives they were protecting.  That is something that Congress, and all Americans, should honor," said Rep. Mast.

"I join all Americans in mourning the tremendous loss of the 13 U.S. troops who were killed in Afghanistan while undertaking the extremely important mission to evacuate people to safety. Their heroic efforts are the definition of courage, and the epitome of service. That's why I am proud to join my colleagues as an original cosponsor of​ this bipartisan bill to award them the Congressional Gold Medal. This is an important step we must take -- one of many -- to ensure their actions are never forgotten," said Rep. Carson.

“As an Iraq War veteran, I am proud to join this effort to recognize and honor the brave men and women who tragically lost their lives in Afghanistan last week,” said Reschenthaler. “These servicemembers put themselves in danger to help American citizens and our allies safely evacuate. Their service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

“Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss and his fellow American servicemembers gave their lives outside Hamid Karzai International Airport helping people they didn’t know get to safety,” Rep. Burchett said. “This is what true heroism looks like and their sacrifices will never be forgotten.”

“Missouri native Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz and the 12 other service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation are true heroes, helping to evacuate our citizens and allies from danger,” Hartzler said. “The least we can do for these Americans and their families is to posthumously award them the Congressional Gold Medal for answering the call and putting their fellow man and woman above themselves. I am proud to support this legislation and honor them for their sacrifice in Afghanistan.”

“These heroic service members, one being a Tennessean, gave their lives for our freedom. I am proud to co-sponsor this bill to award these brave men and women posthumously the Congressional Gold Medal. Americans are forever in debt to them and their families for their service and sacrifice for our great Nation,” said Congressman DesJarlais.

“The brave marines, corpsman, and soldier who lost their lives in the evacuation of Kabul will never be forgotten. Their sacrifice and the loss borne by their families will live forever in the thankful hearts of all Americans. May God bless them all, and may we strive to honor their legacy of courage in every endeavor,” said Rep. Herrell.

“We must never forget the sacrifices of these 13 fallen servicemembers, who gave their lives in the line of duty to protect and assist our nation and its allies. It is my hope that these Congressional Gold Medals will serve as reminder to all of the valor and conviction displayed by these soldiers and the honor that they have brought to our country,” said Rep. Bice.

“These valiant men and women gave their lives to protect American and Afghan civilians from brutal fates under the Taliban,” said Rep. Wittman. “Their heartbreaking sacrifice shows the terrible costs of protecting American lives and freedoms. Those who gave their lives in noble service to the United States deserve recognition, and I am proud to join in this effort to honor them.”

“We owe our deepest debt of gratitude to these 13 noble individuals who were killed in Kabul. While serving in Afghanistan, they were protecting our country and our American freedoms that were attacked on 9/11. By awarding them the gold medal, their exemplary service will be recognized with the highest congressional honor possible.” said Rep. Turner.

“We will never forget the service of the 13 Americans, including Utah’s own Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the lives of others. I am heartsick for our new Gold Star Families and believe there is no better way to honor these heroic service members and the extraordinary legacy they leave behind,” said. Rep. Owens.

“I am honored to help introduce this legislation to honor the 13 Americans who lost their lives in Afghanistan last week,” said Congresswoman Miller. “These brave men and women are true heroes who gave their lives to keep our citizens and Afghan allies safe. May we never forget their unparalleled service and sacrifice.”

“My heart breaks for the thirteen new Gold Star Families across our country. These soldiers gave their lives in service to our country, and we cannot forget them,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “A Congressional Gold Medal is the least we can do to honor these heroes. We will never forget their sacrifice.”

“I’m grateful to my colleague, Rep. Lisa McClain, for introducing this bill to award Congressional Gold Medals to the 13 fallen service members that were needlessly killed in Afghanistan,” said Rep. Taylor Greene.These heroic young members of our military represent the best of us and each of them shall not be forgotten. We join their families and friends in prayer and mourn their losses with them.”

“We will always remember these courageous men and women in uniform,” Rep. Kelly said. “They paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. They are Heroes.”

“I am devastated for the families of the 13 servicemembers who were killed in Afghanistan last week in an act of unspeakable evil,” said Congressman Joyce. “These heroes made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their fellow Americans and our vulnerable Afghan allies as they fled the Taliban. Their deaths leave parents without children, children without parents, and spouses without their loved ones. United, our nation weeps for them. We will never forget their service and will always honor their sacrifice.”

“This has been an incredibly sad and trying time for our nation,” said Congresswoman Malliotakis. “The loss of these 13 brave soldiers is a kick in the gut reminder to every American that freedom is not free, and we all have a responsibility to preserve it. These service members sacrificed their lives so U.S. citizens and our Afghan allies could live in freedom.”

“Proud to join Congresswoman Lisa McClain and several of my colleagues in introducing legislation to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. servicemembers who lost their lives in Afghanistan last week,” said Rep. Rouzer.  “Even in the face of great danger, these brave troops carried out their mission by helping Americans and many Afghan allies and their families get out of the country.  Their selflessness and heroism shall not be forgotten.”  

“These 13 fallen servicemembers demonstrated profound bravery and an unwavering commitment to our nation. They are the greatest representation of America’s strength, and we will never forget their sacrifice,” said Rep. Blake Moore.

“The servicemembers who lost their lives in Kabul represent the best of America. This legislation honors our 13 heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion to help others.  We must never forget our brave men and women in uniform and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Congressman Steil.

“The bravery and selflessness of our men and women who put themselves in harms way for the preservation of our nation is unmatched,” said Rep. Schweikert. “We must come together to pay tribute to the heroes who lost their life protecting Americans and Afghan allies while in Kabul. I stand with the families, the loved ones, and the friends of these exceptional service members. God bless our military.”

“While the Congressional Gold Medal is one of Congress’ highest honors, this is a small token compared to the ultimate sacrifice 13 U.S. service members gave on August 26th. They bravely worked and put themselves at risk to safely evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies. I’ll never forget the 13 U.S. service members’ sacrifices, and this congressional honor would ensure their legacy is remembered in our country’s history for generations to come,” said Congressman Guthrie.

“Our hearts are heavy following the disgraceful terrorist bombing in Kabul. These thirteen American heroes gave their lives evacuating Americans and our allies out of Afghanistan. We will always honor their service and sacrifice on behalf of our great nation," said Rep. LaTurner. "I want to thank Congresswoman McClain for introducing this important piece of legislation. Suzanne and I are praying for the family and friends of these fallen heroes. God Bless our Armed Forces and our Gold Star Families."

“The world is a better, safer place because of our military service members who have served in Afghanistan. May we never forget all these brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to fight terrorism and protect America,” said Rep. Carl.

“Our nation mourns the loss of 13 incredible souls who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting Americans and our allies in Afghanistan. The United States stands strong because brave men and women answer the call of duty, knowingly putting their own lives on the line in service to their country. God bless these 13 fallen heroes, their families, and every American service member,” Rep. Chris Jacobs said.

“As the world watched our nation’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, we saw the valiant efforts of 13 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and evacuate Americans, Afghan families and our allies,” said Congresswoman Young Kim (CA-39). “While we honor their lives and mourn with our gold star families, I’m proud to join Rep. Lisa McClain and a bipartisan group of colleagues to posthumously award these 13 servicemembers the Congressional Gold Medal. It’s the least we can do.”

“The men and women who wear our nation's uniform are the best among us. They answer their nation's call to serve and endure sacrifices to keep us free and safe. The 13 service members who gave their last full measure of devotion to America deserve to be honored and remembered. We must honor their bravery and never forget what they did to save innocent Americans and Afghans. They are, and always will be, heroes,” said Rep. Fleischmann.

“The men and women who bravely sacrificed their lives on August 26, 2021, leave a legacy of heroism. They answered the call to defend freedom in the face of true evil, saving over 100,000 lives in just a few weeks. Each life saved because of their sacrifice is a testament to the courage of all American servicemembers. It is an honor to posthumously present these thirteen heroes with the Congressional Gold Medal. On behalf of a grateful nation, we praise their sacrifice and pray for their families,” said Rep. Westerman.

“The 13 courageous servicemembers who were killed in action while helping to evacuate American citizens, partners, and allies from Afghanistan paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” said Rep. Walorski. “The American people are indebted to these heroes – including my fellow Hoosier Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez – and their families. As we honor these young servicemembers for their indelible contributions to our nation, we remember their brave service and sacrifice.”

“The United States must never forget the bravery of the 13 heroes killed in Kabul last week,” said Congressman Steven Horsford. “These young men and women sacrificed their lives to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens and the Afghan allies who fought by our side. They represent the best of us, and our nation grieves alongside their families and teammates.”

“These heroes made the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of their fellow Americans, our Afghan allies, and innocent women and children,” said Congressman Huizenga. “This gold medal is a way to honor and recognize their service, courage, and sacrifice in the face of unimaginable conditions.” 

“13 U.S. servicemembers, including Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss from Tennessee, gave their lives last week while helping Americans and our Afghan allies. We must never forget their bravery and sacrifice. I am praying for both them and their families,” said Rep. Harshbarger.

“The Congressional Gold Medal may be granted to individuals as the highest expression of national appreciation, and I can think of no greater Congressional act of appreciation for the 13 servicemembers who gave their lives aiding in the evacuation of their fellow Americans and Afghan allies. May God grant comfort to their loved ones. As a nation, we must honor and remember their sacrifice and service,” said Rep. Smucker.

“The 13 men and women we lost in Afghanistan were American heroes and we vow to never forget their service and sacrifice to this great nation,” said Rep. Cammack. “It is with a heavy heart that I join my colleagues in honoring their courage and service with this prestigious award. May we always remember them.”

“Over the last few days we’ve gotten to hear the stories of the 13 servicemembers who lost their lives in the Kabul airport bombing. These were our nation’s sons and daughters whose lives ended far too soon at the hand of terrorists with anti-American ideologies. They represent the best our country has to offer and their heroic actions during a time of crisis should be recognized with our highest honor,” said Rep. Crawford.

"Today my colleagues and I introduced legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 US military servicemembers who were killed in Afghanistan last week while bringing Americans and Afghan allies to safety. Their service to this great country is marked in history," said Rep. Valadao.

“Last week, 13 U.S. military servicemembers made the ultimate sacrifice protecting American citizens in Afghanistan. These individuals are true heroes whose service and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Today, I am proud to join my colleagues on legislation to posthumously award these servicemembers the Congressional Gold Medal to honor their bravery,” said Congressman Bucshon.

“The loss of thirteen American heroes weighs heavily on us all,” said Congressman Garbarino. “They represented the very best of us and gave their lives working to bring their fellow Americans home. Each one of these brave men and women deserve every honor and tribute we can give them. My heart goes out to their families and, although nothing can ease the pain of this profound loss, I hope that it provides some solace to know that their service and sacrifice will not be forgotten and that the nation mourns with them.”

“The U.S. service members who gave their lives trying to save Americans and our Afghan allies from the Taliban are heroes. Our nation is grieving their loss alongside the 13 new Gold Star Families. We will always honor their courage and we will never forget their sacrifice,” Rep. Hinson.

“These 13 heroes gave the ultimate measure of sacrifice for our country and no words can fill the heartbreak felt by their families,” said Rep. Bacon. “The least we can do is honor them with the highest award Congress can give.”

“Watching these American heroes return home who died protecting their fellow American citizens and American allies, was a reminder that freedom is not free,” said Rep. Mann. “Our nation is in debt to these courageous soldiers for their sacrifice. My prayers and deepest condolences are with the Gold Star families grieving the loss of a loved one.”

“The brave men and women in uniform lost in Kabul risked their lives to save our fellow citizens and allies. As Fort Bragg’s Congressman, I continue to pray for the family of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, as well as each of these heroes. This legislation will help ensure our nation will never forget their sacrifices,” said Rep. Hudson.

“Losing a child is every parent’s worst fear and last week, the Schmitz family from Wentzville, and twelve other families, got that terrible knock on the door. Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz risked his life for his country and we are forever indebted to him and his family for his bravery and service. At just 20 years old, Jared was a brave, committed soldier who loved his country and his family. The sacrifices of these 13 heroes allowed thousands of Americans to come home. They gave their lives to ensure others may continue theirs, and that will never be forgotten. My heart breaks for the families of our fallen heroes and we will continue to honor their memories in every way possible,” said Rep. Luetkemeyer.

“As our nation reels from the disaster in Afghanistan, we must pray for the families of our fallen heroes and continue to honor those servicemembers we have lost. This Congressional Gold Medal legislation is a token of the respect that Members of Congress have for these 13 brave men and women, and it would represent our promise to keep their names alive as heroes of our nation,” said Rep. Guest.

“I am proud to cosponsor Congresswoman Lisa McClain bill, which awards the 13 American soldiers killed in the Kabul bombings last week with the Congressional Gold Medal. These young men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice and it would be an honor to posthumously award them with this prestigious medal,” said Rep. Van Duyne.

“It is with the utmost gratitude that we award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 heroic service members who lost their lives to the tragedy in Afghanistan,” said Rep. Bob Good(R-VA). “Today, we honor these brave men and women and seek to hold accountable those whose inaction resulted in the abhorrent events that led to this loss.”

"The bravery of these 13 fallen servicemembers should be honored and recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal. Their selfless sacrifice will never be forgotten," said Rep. Fulcher.

“Awarding our 13 U.S. military servicemembers the Congressional Gold Medal is the least that we can do to honor their heroic sacrifice. They embody the very best of who we are as Americans. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. Their service gave the gift of freedom to Americans and Afghans trying to leave Kabul. Their memories will never be forgotten,” said Rep. Fallon.

“We grieve with the families of our lost servicemembers, knowing that they represent the best among us. We will never forget their service and the ultimate sacrifice they made in defense of others.  We must honor and pay tribute to these heroes.  May their memories be eternal,” said Congressman Bilirakis.

"My heart broke over the loss of thirteen U.S. service members in Afghanistan.  The loss was made even harder knowing that one of those who died was Marine Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Page of Nebraska.  These incredibly courageous men and women served their country honorably and with dignity.  Their lives were cut short far too early, but their lives carry ultimate meaning," said Congressman Fortenberry.

Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE), Jim Banks (R-IN), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Larry Buschon (R-IN), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Russ Fulcher (R-IN), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Bob Good (R-VA), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Yvette Herrell (R-NM), Jody Hice (R-GA), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Bob Latta (R-OH), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) Tom McClintock (R-CA), David McKinley (R-WV), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Carol Miller (R-WV), Blake Moore (R-UT), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Burgess Owens (R-UT), August Pfluger (R-TX), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Bryan Steil (R-WI), Greg Steube (R-FL), Mike Turner (R-OH), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY) Joe Wilson (R-SC), Randy Weber (R-TX), Roger Williams (R-TX), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Young Kim (R-CA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Al Lawson (D-FL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) John Moolenaar (R-MI), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Bruce Westermann (R-AR), Don Young (R-AK), Rick Allen (R-GA), Mark Amodei (R-NV),  Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Jerry Carl (R-AL), Tom Cole (R-OK), John Curtis (R-UT),  Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Scott Franklin (R-FL),  Mike Garcia (R-CA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Michael Guest (R-MS), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Chris Jacobs (R-NY),  Dusty Johnson (R- SD), Bill Keating (D-MA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), David Kustoff (R-TN), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Tracey Mann (R-KS), Brian Mast (R-FL), Greg Murphy (R-NC), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Gary Palmer (R-AL),  David Rouzer (R-NC), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Darren Soto (D-FL), Victoria Spartz (R-IN), David Valadao (R-CA), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Andy Harris (R-MD), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN), Ruben Gallego (D-NV), Jason Smith (R-MO), Ralph Norman (R-SC), G.T. Thompson (R-PA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX),  Buddy Carter (R-GA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Mike Levin (D-CA), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Garrett Graves (R-LA), Pat Fallon (R-TX), Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Elise Slotkin (D-MI), Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR),  Steven Horsford (D-NV), Greg Pence (R-IN), Barry Moore (R-AL), Ted Budd (R-NC), Jay Obernolte (R-CA), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), Mike Bost (R-IL), Maria Salazar (R-FL), Jim Costa (D-CA), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Julia Letlow (R-LA), Jared Golden (D-ME), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Randy Feenstra (R-IA) and Byron Donalds (R-FL) joined as original cosponsors of the legislation.

For the bill text, click here.

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