Padilla Joins Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Honor 13 American Heroes Killed in Afghanistan with Congressional Gold Medals

Four California residents were among those killed in the terror attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) joined Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and 30 of their Senate colleagues today in introducing a bipartisan bill to award Congressional Gold Medals to the 13 American servicemembers who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26th. Among the 13 servicemembers killed during the attack, 10 were stationed at Camp Pendleton and four were California residents.

“We have a solemn duty to honor the lives of the 13 servicemembers we lost during the terrorist attacks in Kabul on August 26,” said Senator Padilla. “These heroes served our country through the end of America’s longest war, and we have an obligation to them, their families, and their loved ones to ensure their ultimate sacrifice is properly recognized with a Congressional Gold Medal. I will work my colleagues to advance this legislation and ensure that history always remembers them for their courage, dedication, and service to our nation—they deserve nothing less.”

“Thirteen brave men and women gave the last full measure to protect Americans and our Afghan allies at a critical moment in our nation’s history—they are American heroes. As the U.S. concludes 20-years of combat in Afghanistan, I believe it’s fitting that Congress commemorates their sacrifice in this moment with the Congressional Gold Medal,” Senator Daines said. “On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you to these heroes and their families, and to all who wear the uniform and protect our freedom.”

“We should honor these 13 servicemembers, including U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Lawrence, Massachusetts, who were killed last month in Afghanistan while serving our country and working to protect the lives of others. These individuals demonstrated incredible courage throughout their careers, and we owe it to them to pass legislation to recognize their heroic service with the Congressional Gold Medal,” Senator Warren said.

The senators are pushing for Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan W. Page, Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak and Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Michael Bennet (D-Color.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Tina Smith (D-Minn.),  Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Bernie Sanders (D-V.T.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Color.) have also cosponsored the bill.

Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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