United States Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, has been identified as one of the 13 U.S. service members who was killed in Thursday’s terrorist attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Rosario Pichardo, who also goes by the surname Rosario, was killed in a heinous suicide bombing attack believed to be perpetrated by members of the Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), ISIS’s Afghanistan affiliate.
As Breitbart News reported, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings outside Hamid Karzai International Airport, the staging point for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which “killed at least 90 people, including 13 U.S. service members, and wounded another 150.”
Rosario, from Lawrence, Massachusetts, was a supply chief of the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Naval Support Activity Bahrain, and a member of its Female Engagement Team. According to Stars and Stripes, the Female Engagement Team “interact[s] with women barred by custom from talking to male strangers.”
First Lieutenant Jack Coppola confirmed to Stars and Stripes that Rosario had “served 6 1/2 years in the Corps [and] was screening women and children at Abbey Gate when the attack took place.”
“Her service was not only crucial to evacuating thousands of women and children, but epitomizes what it means to be a Marine: putting herself in danger for the protection of American values so that others might enjoy them,” Coppola further told Stars and Stripes. “She is a hero, and her legacy will never be forgotten.”
Rosario’s friends posted tributes to the fallen Marine on social media.
Nastassia Hyatt, a former Marine who lived with Rosario, said in a Facebook post, “You became my soulmate. You were… are my other half, my whole heart, my world… pretty much my everything.”
“You brought me back to life,” Hyatt continued. “Back to life… back to life…. I wish i could bring you back to life for just one last hug, one last smile, one last nap, one last meal… one last anything.”
Tania Kelley, another fellow Marine, posted to Facebook:
I can’t believe it’s you… after anxiously waiting to hear the names of those fallen brothers and sisters, never in a million years did I ever think your name would be one of them. You were my only friend when I first got to the fleet and the person that trained me in everything that I knew in Supply. You were so good at your job and so good to your Jr Marines.
Massachusetts elected officials also relayed their grief over the loss of Rosario. A memorial in honor of her and the 12 other U.S. service members also took place in the state.
“I am deeply saddened by the news that Johanny Rosario Pichardo of Lawrence was killed in action in Afghanistan. My condolences go out to her family, friends, and loved ones,” U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said according to WMUR 9:
The people of Massachusetts and the entire nation always will remember her brave service to our country. There is no measure of thanks for Sgt. Rosario Pichardo’s ultimate sacrifice, so we must honor her heroism in service to the United States and all of those we lost in this attack. Our flags fly lower, our hearts hang heavy, and our gratitude runs eternal for Sgt. Rosario Pichardo.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also issued a statement, saying “Sgt. Johanny Rosario is a hero”:
A daughter of Lawrence, her courage saved thousands of lives and her selfless service represents the best of our country. My heart aches for her loved ones. We will not forget her sacrifice and we will fulfill our sacred obligation to them forever.
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) said of Rosario that she “represented the very best our country has to offer”:
She made the ultimate sacrifice for our country protecting vulnerable Americans and Afghans trying to get to safety — a selfless and honorable mission.
The terrorists responsible for this despicable act will be brought to justice. My heart breaks for Sergeant Rosario’s family, friends, and the entire Lawrence community. Her sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Other U.S. service members thus far identified as being killed in the attacks include, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California; Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska; Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California; and Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California.