The Navy corpsman who was among 13 US troops killed in a suicide blast in Afghanistan made a haunting final post on Instagram before his death.
Maxton William Soviak, a medic in his early 20s from Ohio, made the tragic post on June 10, sharing a photo posing with other service members in what is believed to be Afghanistan.
‘It’s kill or be killed, definitely trynna be on the kill side,’ he wrote in a comment on the post.
Navy corpsmen often work alongside Marines, who do not have their own medics. Eleven Marines were also killed in Thursday’s attack at the Kabul airport, as well as an Army soldier, and at least 18 US servicemembers were wounded.
Maxton William Soviak (center), a medic in his early 20s, made this tragic post on June 10, writing ‘It’s kill or be killed, definitely trynna be on the kill side’
Soviak, an Ohio native, joined the Navy after high school and became a hospital corpsman
Soviak’s sister Marilyn said an Instagram post that her brother was there to ‘help people’
Soviak’s sister Marilyn said in her own Instagram post that her brother was there to ‘help people’.
‘My beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drum, annoying, charming baby brother was killed yesterday helping to save lives. He was a f***ing medic. There to help people and now he is gone and my family will never be the same,’ she wrote.
‘He was just a kid. We are sending kids over there to die. Kids with families that now have holes just like ours,’ she added. ‘I’m not one for praying but d**n could those kids over there use some right now. My heart is in pieces and I don’t think they’ll ever fit back right again.’
Soviak was named as a casualty of the attack by his high school in Milan, Ohio, where he graduated in 2017. His death was not immediately confirmed by the US Navy.
‘It is with deepest sorrow that I am sharing this news,’ Edison Local School District Superintendent Thomas Roth said in a statement.
‘Max was a good student who was active in sports and other activities throughout his school career. He was well respected and liked by everyone who knew him. Max was full of life in everything he did.’
Soviak took pride in his Navy service and worked alongside Marines in Afghanistan
In high school, Soviak was on the honor roll and played football. He was named as a casualty of the attack by his high school in Milan, Ohio
Soviak’s family confirmed his death to local media and have asked for privacy.
In high school, Soviak was on the honor roll and played football, according to the Sandusky Register.
Soviak was among the nearly 6,000 US troops now working frantically to evacuate Americans and Afghan refugees from Kabul, with just days remaining before President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline to withdraw.
Four of the Marines killed in the attack have been named as Rylee McCollum, David Lee Espinoza, Kareem Nikoui and Jared Schmitz.
David Lee Espinoza, 20
David Lee Espinoza, 20, was one of the Marines killed in Thursday’s attack
David Lee Espinoza, was a 20-year-old U.S. Marine from Rio Grande, Texas.
His mother, Elizabeth Holguin, said: ‘He was a very good person. He served his country. He helped in any way he could. He was there (in Afghanistan), helping innocent people.’
This was his second deployment; he first made a trip to the Middle East and arrived in Afghanistan for about a week.
Holguin said she was uneasy about him being deployed there.
‘I prayed every day,’ she said.
He is one of four children; he is not married and has no children.
The mom last spoke with him Tuesday.
‘I just told him to be careful, that I was worried about him and I couldn’t wait for him to come back,’ Holguin said. ‘He told me he was fine and not to worry…. He was brave. If he was scared, he didn’t show it.’
She said she holds no animosity toward the president, saying her son ‘wanted to be there.’
Holguin learned her son was dead when she received a phone call Friday at 2.30am.
Rylee McCollum was named by his high school in Wyoming as a casualty in the attack
McCollum was named by his high school in Wyoming as a casualty in the attack.
He was expecting to become a father and was pictured with his pregnant wife shortly before deploying to Afghanistan in April.
Cheyenne McCollum, Rylee’s sister, told DailyMail.com her brother had wanted to be a Marine since he was a toddler – and that his own baby is due in just three weeks.
‘Rylee was an amazing, man with a passion for the Marines. He was a son, a brother, a husband and a father with a baby due in just 3 weeks,’ she said.
‘He wanted to be a marine his whole life and carried around his rifle in his diapers and cowboy boots.
‘He was determined to be in infantry and this was his first deployment. Rylee was sent to Afghanistan when the evac began. Rylee was manning the check point when he suicide bomb went off.
‘Rylee wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach when he finished serving his country. He’s a tough, kind, loving kid who made an impact on everyone he met. His joke and wit brought so much joy.
‘To his friends and teammates and coaches, he was family. Rylee will always be a hero not just for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country but for the way he impacted every life around him for the better. Making us stronger, kinder, teaching us to love deeper. We love you Rylee.’
Rylee McCollum was due to become a father. He is pictured with his pregnant wife, right, shortly before deploying to Afghanistan in April
Another sister told the Casper Star-Tribune that it was his first deployment, and that he was manning a checkpoint at the airport when the bomb went off.
‘He wanted to be a Marine his whole life and carried around his rifle in his diapers and cowboy boots,’ sister Roice McCollum’s said.
‘He was determined to be in infantry… Rylee wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach when he finished serving his country. He’s a tough, kind, loving kid who made an impact on everyone he met. His joke and wit brought so much joy.
‘Rylee will always be a hero not just for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country, but for the way he impacted every life around him for the better. Making us stronger, kinder, teaching us to love deeper,’ Roice McCollum said.
McCollum graduated from Summit Innovations School in Jackson in 2019.
Wyoming Schools Superintendent Jillian Balow said in a statement: ‘Saying that I am grateful for Rylee’s service to our country does not begin to encapsulate the grief and sadness I feel today as a mother and as an American.’
‘My heart and prayers are with Rylee’s family, friends, and the entire Jackson community,’ she added.
Jared Schmitz, 20
Jared Schmitz was killed in the attack
Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz was a 20-year-old from Wentzville, Missouri.
His father Mark Schmitz told KMOX the Marines notified his family about 2.40am on Friday about his son’s death.
‘This was something he always wanted to do and I never seen a young man train as hard as he did to be the best soldier he could be,’ Mark Schmitz said.
The grieving father grew emotional as he spoke about his son, welling up with tears.
‘His life meant so much more. I’m so incredibly devastated that I won’t be able to see the man that he was very quickly growing into becoming.’
Mark Schmitz slammed Biden and blamed him for his son’s death.
‘Be afraid of our leadership or lack thereof. Pray every day for the soldiers that are putting their lives at risk, doing what they love which is protecting all of us,’ Schmitz’s father said.
He added that he was relieved when his son signed up as a Marine when Trump was in office because he ‘really believed this guy didn’t want to send people into harm’s way.’
Marine Kareem Nikoui was a native of Norco, California.
Nikoui’s father Steve, a carpenter, vented his frustrations at Biden in an interview with the Daily Beast.
‘They sent my son over there as a paper pusher and then had the Taliban outside providing security. I blame my own military leaders… Biden turned his back on him. That’s it,’ he said
Steve Nikoui said he knew his son was dead when he saw two Marines approaching his home on Thursday at 7.15pm PST.
He said he sat with the two emotional Marines, who cried more than he died, and then had them leave.
Marine Kareem Nikoui, pictured with his mother, was killed on Thursday. His father said he blames Biden for abandoning them in Kabul
‘I was actually trying to console them. But at the same time, I just wanted them to get out as soon as possible so that no one from my family came back and saw them.
‘I thought it appropriate that I be able to tell them,’ he said.
He added that his son, who was based at Camp Pendleton in California, would often bring other Marines home on the holidays if they couldn’t get back to their own families.
‘My wife and I felt very honored that [since] these other boys weren’t around their homes, that we were able to provide some sort of family life for them.
‘He really loved that [Marine Corps] family. He was devoted—he was going to make a career out of this, and he wanted to go. No hesitation for him to be called to duty,’ he said.
The city of Norco plans to honor Nikoui by placing his name on the ‘Lest We Forget Wall’ at the George A. Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza.
Marine Hunter Lopez, a native of California’s Coachella Valley and the son of two police officers, was also killed, Sheriff Chad Bianco confirmed.
‘I am unbelievably saddened and heartbroken for the Lopez family as they grieve over the loss of their American Hero,’ Bianco wrote.
‘Hunter Lopez, son of our own Captain Herman Lopez and Deputy Alicia Lopez, tragically lost his life while serving our country in the United States Marine Corp. He was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, August 26th,’ the sheriff added.
‘Before joining the Marine Corp, Hunter proudly served in our Sheriff’s Explorer Program. Our entire department is mourning this tragic loss. The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self.’
Marine Hunter Lopez, a native of California’s Coachella Valley and the son of two police officers, was also killed, Sheriff Chad Bianco confirmed
City of La Quinta issued a statement: “Our La Quinta Family is in mourning today with the tragic loss of Hunter Lopez, one of the fallen United States Service Members in the attack in Afghanistan,’
‘Hunter is the son of Captain Herman and Alicia Lopez, both members of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. Captain Herman Lopez is our Police Chief and Captain over at the Thermal Station,’ the statement added.
‘We are all so humbled by the service and ultimate sacrifice that Hunter gave to protect our country. He was a brave and selfless soldier who answered the call to be a United States Marine. Like his parents, Hunter wanted to help serve others and protect his community.’