Congressional Gold Medal to be Posthumously Awarded to Marine Corp Sgt. Pichardo and 12 Others

Marine Corp Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo in her “Gator of the Week” photograph in May. (Courtesy photograph.)

A Congressional Gold Medal is being posthumously awarded to Marine Corp Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Lawrence and a dozen other U.S. servicemembers killed in an August bombing at the Hamid Karzai Airport in Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan legislation last week. It was cosponsored by 325 members of the House, including Congresswoman Lori Trahan, and was shepherded through the Senate by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Steve Daines, a Montana Republican.

“Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo is a hero to her family, her friends, her community and her country. Not a day goes by that her absence isn’t felt by those who had the honor of knowing her and many more who didn’t but remain deeply grateful for the sacrifices she made,” Trahan said in a statement. She added, “The awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award that Congress can bestow, is the least we can do to honor all Sgt. Rosario Pichardo did to save the lives of countless Americans and Afghan allies. It will serve as a reminder of the life of service she lived and the obligation each of us shares to carry on her legacy each day.”

“These heroic individuals were killed in Afghanistan while serving our country and working to protect the lives of others and deserve recognition,” Warren said.

Besides 25-year-old Pichardo of Lawrence, others killed were Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Espinoza; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee; Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover; Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui,; Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler; Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto Sanchez; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz; and Navy Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak.

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