Remains of US service members killed in Kabul return home

The remains of nine Marines and one sailor based at Camp Pendleton were draped in American flags Sunday at Dover Air Force Base as President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden met with some of the fallen troops’ families. Sunday, their remains arrived in Delaware on a C-17 plane that had traveled from Kabul to Qatar to Ramstein Air Base in Germany before its flight to Dover.

The U.S. service members based in Camp Pendleton were among the 13 killed in a suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. They died supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel non-combative evacuations on Aug. 26 in Afghanistan. Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of all the soldiers. The arrival of the remains on Sunday morning at Dover Air Force Base in what’s known as a dignified transfer will mark the first time that Biden is honoring fallen U.S. troops at such an event as president. “The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others,” Mr. Biden said in a statement Saturday. “Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far.” Biden and his wife, Jill, met privately with family members of those killed in the suicide attack near the Kabul airport before the president became the fourth commander in chief over two decades of war to stand at attention at Dover Air Force Base as the remains of the fallen from Afghanistan returned home.

The dead ranged in age from 20 to 31, and came from California and Massachusetts and states in between. Five were just 20 – born not long before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that spurred the United States to invade Afghanistan in order to topple al-Qaida and dismantle their Taliban hosts who ruled the country.