Fallen USMC sgt. killed in Kabul bombing comes home to Boston, grieving family on 9/11

The city of Boston honored one of its own, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, who was one of the 13 service members killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul days before last month’s pullout from Afghanistan, on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Rosario Pichardo’s remains arrived at Logan International Airport where her mother, grandmother, and three siblings awaited and were overcome with grief as her casket was removed from the plane.

A number of political leaders including both of Massachusetts’ U.S. senators, Democrats Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Kim Janey, and Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez were on hand to pay their last respects to Rosario Pichardo, one of 11 Marines killed along with two U.S. Army soldiers and a U.S Navy corpsman. The suicide bombing took place as U.S. military personnel were manning Abbey Gate at the international airport in Kabul screening for American citizens and Afghan allies to board flights.

The fallen Marine was also honored in her hometown of Lawrence, where residents stood along streets, many waving American flags as the procession with her casket, escorted by firefighters and others, drove by.

At a local funeral home, a Marine honor guard carried her flag-draped coffin inside.

“She’s coming home on the date, the 20th anniversary of the date, that created the war that cost her life,” said Francisco Urena, former state veterans commissioner, in comments to the Boston Globe.

Rosario Pichardo reportedly served with Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. There will be a private Mass on Monday followed by a public gathering at a stadium in her hometown as well, and she’ll be laid to rest at Bellevue Cemetery, reports said.

“Twenty years ago, she was five years old, she didn’t know what 9/11 was all about, but she still answered the call to serve her country and she did it to the point of serving the ultimate sacrifice,” said Local 146 Lawrence Firefighters Union President Eric Zahn.

“Along I-93, fire departments, police departments, service men and women, as well as crowds of supporters stood waving flags and saluting. The procession took a pause along Rt. 114 as they entered her hometown, stopping underneath an American flag held up by two Lawrence fire trucks,” CBS Boston reported.

“I came out here to support my fellow Marine. We never leave a Marine behind, and I just feel bad for her family,” Christine Stearns told the local outlet.

“It’s a very tight-knit community to be a female Marine. We are the few and the prouder; 20 years later, Sergeant Rosario was out there still fighting that war, so I think it’s a very humbling day,” added Camille Craffey.

All of those members who were killed were posthumously awarded Purple Hearts, the U.S. military’s oldest honor.


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