Portsmouth, NH Police Remember 13 U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan
Portsmouth Police paid tribute to the thirteen members of the U.S. military who died in the terrorist attack at airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 27 with a touching video.
The nighttime video posted to the department Facebook page Sunday morning shows ten police cruisers, two motorcycles and department's BearCat armored vehicle lined up at police headquarters with their blues on leading to officers holding a Marine cover and an American flag.
"You can find any number of reasons to put a tribute video up. This was our opportunity to pay our respects not only for the lives lost in Kabul but to all our men and woman serving overseas. It was something we felt good in doing," Portsmouth Police Sgt. Seth Tondreault told Seacoast Current.
Tondreault used a bagpipe performance called "Scotland the Brave a selection has heard at police funerals he has attended.
"Something about it is both powerful and respectful. It tugs at your heartstrings," Tondreault said.
Two of the officers in the video served with the branches of the military whose members were lost in the attack.
The officer holding the Marine cover in the center was a Marine for nearly a decade. He was a member of MARSOC, the Marines' Special Operations Command.
"He had a pretty significant history with the Marine corp," Tomdreault said. "The gentleman to his left also served in the Navy overseas during that time."
Tondreault, who is also Commander of the Portsmouth Police Honor Guard, said the video came together without a lot of pre-planning. When Tondreault came on shift Saturday night the cruisers were already moved into position.
"It was one of those things not entirely planned but a more organic thing," Tomdreault said. " Everyone that could get over there and there weren't calls happening they wanted to pop in and see it happen. All told it was those three officers and me running the camera," Tondreault said.
Josh Denton, commander of Portsmouth VFW Post 168 who served in Iraq was appreciative of the tribute.
"I think it's great. Anyone who wants to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers by all means should. There are different ways to do it. Facebook is definitely one way. If you could attend an event or if you want to post something I think it's good all around," Denton told Seacoast Current.
The Post postponed its parade originally scheduled for Oct. 9 to honor Afghanistan veterans until spring after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.
An event called Flags Across NH on Wednesday organized by Dover's Matt Mayberry drew about 250 people to 21 town and city halls around the state to simply hold a flag in honor of Afghan veterans.
The members of the military who died in the attack are:
- Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
- 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.
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California.
- Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio.
- Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH