One of the 13 U.S. military members killed in the bomb attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Thursday was stationed at MCAS Camp Pendleton. Lance Cpl. Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui was a Southern California native who grew up in Norco, California.
11 Marines, two soldiers, and one Navy hospital corpsman were killed in the blast. To date, the names of seven service members have been released, including: Max Soviak, and Marines Hunter Lopez, Rylee McCollum, David Lee Espinoza, Kareem Nikoui, Jared Schmitz and Sgt Taylor Hoover.
It's estimated that 170 other individuals perished with U.S. military personnel as a result of the blast.
Nikoui's father, Steve Nikoui spoke with the Daily Beast and told them that “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.” Nikoui senior is angry at the political decisions that have to the violence and turmoil in Afghanistan, stating “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.”
The community of Norco will be honoring Corporal Nikoui by adding his name to their Lest We Forget Wall at the George A. Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza, which honors people from Norco who have died while serving their country.