A third Marine from Southern California has been identified as among the 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, according to multiple media reports.
Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga was identified by ABC7 and several friends on social media as being among the fatalities.
Two other Marines from Riverside County, Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui, a lance corporal from Norco, and Cpl. Hunter Lopez, the son of Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Alicia Lopez and Capt. Herman Lopez, were previously identified as being among the fatalities.
Merola was a graduate of Los Osos High School. On Friday, students there honored him during the school’s first football game of the season by wearing red, white and blue.
“Dylan was a beloved son, brother, grandson, great grandson, nephew, a great friend, and a brave soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice at the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport during the evacuation,” friend Joseph Matsuoka wrote as part of a GoFundMe page for the family.
Merola’s mother, Cheryl, told CBS2 her son had been in Kabul for less than two weeks and was planning to go to college and study engineering. She also recalled his final text message to her before the Thursday bombing that also killed at least 150 Afghans.
“He wrote ‘I won’t be able to talk for a little while, we’re being sent to a different location.’” his mother told CBS2 “‘I love you and I’ll talk to you soon.’ He was one of the best kids ever. Kind. Loving. Giving to every single person. He would give anything for anybody.”
Source: Orange County Register