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Utah Marine among 13 U.S. service members killed in Kabul attack

Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover
Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, a U.S. Marine from Utah, is among the 13 U.S. service members who were killed in Thursday’s attack outside the Kabul airport.
Hoover family photo

A U.S. Marine from Utah is among the 13 U.S. service members who were killed in Thursday’s attack outside the Kabul airport.

Family and friends confirmed that died in Thursday’s devastating suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that also left well over 100 Afghans dead.

Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, confirmed there was only one bombing outside the airport’s Abbey Gate, saying initial confusion led to reports of a second bombing at a nearby hotel.

Family and friends called Hoover a hero and said while they are bruised and angry, they remain faithful.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox released a statement Friday offering condolences to Hoover’s family, saying he died helping to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghans seeking asylum.

“We are devastated to hear of the passing of Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover. Staff Sgt. Hoover served valiantly as a Marine and died serving his fellow countrymen as well as America’s allies in Afghanistan. We honor his tremendous bravery and commitment to his country, even as we condemn the senseless violence that resulted in his death. Abby and I pray for Staff Sgt. Hoover, his family and loved ones during this most difficult time,” Cox said.

Cox ordered flags lowered on state and public grounds until sunset on Monday

Tributes filled social media honoring Hoover, whose Facebook page says he graduated from Hillcrest High School.

“Soooooo glad I got to see him before he left. I love you son!!! You’re my hero!! Please check in on us once in a while. I’ll try to make you proud!!” Hoover’s father, Darin Hoover, posted on Facebook.

“My handsome nephew, Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover. Taylor spent his entire adult life as a Marine, serving. Doing the hard things that most of us can’t do. He is a hero,” Jeremy Soto, an uncle, posted. “We are wounded. We are bruised. We are angry. We are crushed. ... but we remain faithful.”

“Always a smile. Always respectful. A joy to be around. He is adored beyond measure. The world has lost a true light. Our hearts are broken. Shock, disbelief, horror, sadness, sorrow, anger and grief,” Brittany Jones Barnett, an aunt, posted. “Thank you sweet boy for the ultimate sacrifice. For giving your life for us all. Fighting for freedom and giving absolutely everything you had. You will never ever be forgotten. We love you so much.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, issued a statement Friday saying he was mourning with the Hoover family, saying “burying a child is a grief no parent should bear.”

“He died completing a mission to save his countrymen and civilians from evil and oppression. He lived the Marine Corps motto by living and dying always faithful,” Lee said.

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, lamented Hoover’s death on Twitter, saying Utah had lost “one of its finest.”

Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, tweeted that Hoover had “spent his last moments serving our state & nation, & we’ll never forget his unwavering devotion.”

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, said on Twitter that even as he mourns Hoover’s death, he is also angry, calling the tragedy avoidable.

This story will be updated.

Contributing: Pat Reavy