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Waltz Requests Posthumously Advancing Ranks of the Fallen at Abbey Gate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, U.S. Congressmen Mike Waltz (FL-6) led a letter with his Republican colleagues Mike McCaul (TX-10), Cory Mills (FL-7), Brian Mast (FL-21), and Darrell Issa (CA-48) to U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and U.S. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth to request posthumously advancing the ranks of service-members killed during the 2021 Abbey Gate terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

U.S. Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak is the only service-member killed in the attack that has been posthumously promoted thus far. He was promoted to the rank of Hospital Corpsman Third Class in September 2021.

Read the full letter:

Dear Secretary Del Toro and Secretary Wormuth,

Recently, we were humbled to meet with the families of the victims of the 2021 Abbey Gate terrorist bombing.  Their terrible sorrow is accompanied with a great sense of pride and duty to continue to honor their loved ones, and to support each other and other Gold Star families.

Through our service to this great country, we think we can agree that the Gold Star families of our fallen must be cared for by providing them the lifelong benefits worthy of their sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. 

During these meetings, the families asked about posthumous promotions for their loved ones.  We were surprised to learn that the Marines and soldier had not already been posthumously promoted.

As you are aware, 10 U.S.C. §1563 authorizes Members of Congress to initiate a recommendation for honorary promotion.  Therefore, in accordance with Federal law, and all applicable rules and regulations, we respectfully ask that you posthumously advance the ranks of the service-members killed during the 2021 Abbey Gate terrorist attack:

•                Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza of Rio Bravo, Texas

•                Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee of Sacramento, California

•                Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover of Salt Lake City

•                Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss of Corryton, Tennessee

•                Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, of Indio, California.

•                Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum of Jackson, Wyoming

•                Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola of Rancho Cucamonga, California

•                Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui of Norco, California

•                Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Lawrence, Massachusetts

•                Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez of Logansport, Indiana

•                Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz of St. Charles, Missouri

•                Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page of Omaha, Nebraska

When our brave servicemembers give the last full measure of devotion in the service of our republic, we have a solemn obligation to care for their survivors with the dignity and respect their service demands. We kindly ask for your assistance in upholding this obligation.

We look forward to your prompt consideration to this request.