It was learned today that a Rancho Cucamonga native was one of the thirteen members of the U.S. military who were slain in a suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 26.
Highly reliable sources told the Sentinel that Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga was among the mortally wounded on Thursday when a sneak attack was made by what was believed to be a member of ISIS – the Islamic State In Syria – who had assumed a position in a crowd of refugees who had come to the airport in an effort to gain transit out of the war-torn country. That attack consisted of a massive explosion from a bodyworn bomb carried by a single individual who came out of the crowd toward Marines who were assisting in maintaining the security around Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate. Gunfire immediately after the explosion augmented the attack.
From Abbey Gate, passengers were loading into arriving planes that would shortly thereafter depart to bring American citizens and native Afghans, whose cooperation with the American occupation of Afghanistan over the last two decades put them in danger, to safe locations outside Afghanistan.
Eleven Marines and a Navy corpsman were killed nearly instantly in the blast and 19 other Americans were injured. A twelfth Marine died subsequently, bringing the total number of American serviceman killed in the attack to 13.
Merola was a 2019 graduate of Los Osos High School. Prior to being dispatched to Afghanistan, he was recently stationed at Camp Pendleton, a member of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and was selected as a part of a crisis response team sent to Kabul to assist and stabilize the evacuation effort.