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US Marine from Missouri among service members killed in Afghanistan

APTOPIX Afghanistan
Posted at 2:06 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 18:20:05-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 20-year-old Marine from suburban St. Louis has been identified among 13 U.S. service members killed in Thursday’s suicide bombing near the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson are among those who have identified the Marine as Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, of Wentzville.

Parson offered his condolences "on behalf of all Missourians" on Friday on social media.

"We want to honor Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz for his sacrifice and recognize his service to our nation in the defense of freedom," Parson said. "He put his life on the line protecting our service members and allies. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his bravery.

"Our hearts go out to Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz’s family and friends. And to Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, you will never be forgotten."

Schmitz's father, Mark Schmitz, said representatives from the Marines came to his home at 2:40 a.m. Friday to confirm his son's death, according to St. Louis radio station KMOX.

"His life meant so much more," Mark Schmitz said of his son. "I'm so incredibly devastated that I won't be able to see the man that he was very quickly growing into becoming."

Jared Schmitz was among a group of Marines sent back to Afghanistan to assist with evacuation efforts, his father said.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson issued a statement Friday afternoon regarding Jared Schmitz's death.

"On behalf of all Missourians, we want to honor Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz for his sacrifice and recognize his service to our nation in the defense of freedom," Parson said in a tweet. "He put his life on the line protecting our service members and allies. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his bravery."

A U.S. Navy sailor from Ohio also was among those killed Thursday. The suicide bombing also claimed the lives of at least 169 Afghan natives, according to The Associated Press.

Eighteen additional U.S. service members and an estimated 200 civilians were injured in the blast, which the Islamic State Khorosan, or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for carrying out.

The U.S. has vowed retribution against the leaders of ISIS-K, a terrorist group that also opposes the Taliban, but White House officials also warned that more attacks could be planned.

Flags across the country were ordered at half-staff Friday to honor the fallen soldiers.

Officials announced Friday that 500 soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, will be deployed to help evacuees from Afghanistan get settled in the U.S.

More than 100,000 people already have been evacuated, but President Biden has drawn heavy criticism for the slow pace of initial evacuations and the chaotic nature as U.S. citizens and Afghan allies scrambled to leave with the Taliban sweeping back to power much faster than White House officials expected.