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Gold Star Dad of Marine Killed in Afghanistan to Biden: Say My Son’s Name
Two years after 13 service members killed in Kabul Airport suicide bombing, families go public to demand answers and accountability
“Biden has never once publicly said our kids' names,” declared Darin Hoover.
His son, Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, was one of 13 service members killed two years ago today by a suicide bomber at Kabul Airport.
I asked Hoover if he would like Biden to say Taylor’s name now.
“At this point, it would ring hollow,” he replied.
Hoover was momentarily silent on the phone. Then he added, “It would be nice — don't get me wrong.”
Lies about his death
Hoover and the other Gold Star families are angry and frustrated because the military and Biden administration will not tell them the truth about the catastrophic U.S withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Every time we’ve asked about the events of that day and what happened, we’d get the door slammed in our face,” said Hoover.
Hoover does not even been given facts about his son’s death on his fifth overseas deployment.
“The Pentagon told us he died on impact, and we now know from others on the ground that he lived for some time,” he said.
Taylor’s mother, Kelly Barnett, said at a recent congressional forum in California that Taylor “lived for a little while…he was giving out his ammo.” Barnett said “He tied a tourniquet around his leg. I don't understand the reasoning of that lie.”
When I asked Barnett 18 months ago what she missed most about her son, she said:
I miss the prayers we would say together and the words of encouragement passed back and forth. I miss his insightfulness. I miss his advice. I miss how he would say, “I love you, Momma.” I miss his beautiful soul!
Hoover, Barnett and nine of the other families will be on Capitol Hill on Aug. 29 to testify at a House Foreign Affairs Committee roundtable meeting about the attack.
“We are tired of being lied to and basically ghosted. We want answers about the events that happened that day, and we won’t be lied to anymore,” said Hoover. “We need to get justice for our kids.”
Hoover said the families recently met with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the other top Republican House leaders to demand answers and accountability.
Anger at Biden
“It was chaotic and everyone knows that, but our kids deserve better. The veterans deserve a heck of a lot better,” Hoover said. “Just tell us the truth and don't lie.”
Hoover wants Biden and all the top military leaders to resign. He also wants a full explanation for the decision to withdrawal in August 2021.
“If this was just a piece of Biden’s legacy— get us out of war by the 20th anniversary of 9/11— then why did we jump back in another war in Ukraine? If he was so dead set on getting us out of war, why are we back in another one?”
I asked Hoover how he keeps up the strength to keep fighting Washington.
“It hurts to keep tearing off the scab,” said the Gold Star father. “But, at the same time, my son and all the kids don't have a voice except for us.”
Nonprofits to honor the 13 fallen
Taylor’s parents started a non-profit to honor their son. The Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover Memorial Scholarships gives assistance to veterans and support animals.
“We want to help kids who want education to get that leg up in society. We’ve given out $15,000 in scholarships for kids who display honor, courage and commitment,” Hoover said, referring to the Marine Corps values.
In speaking with Hoover and several other families, I found there was no central place for the public to find their charities and support them. I offered to collect the links and stories about the purpose of the charities.
I encourage you to read from the parents directly about how they are giving back now to active military and veterans.
It is shameful that they are not able to focus entirely on doing good because they have to fight Washington for answers and accountability. After two years, the government needs to honor their sacrifice and just come clean about this unnecessary tragedy.
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SAY THEIR NAMES
The 13 service members who were killed while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel on Aug. 26, 2021, in alphabetical order:
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas.
Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.
Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California.
Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska.
Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Louis, Missouri.
Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio