(NewsNation) — It’s been one year since a deadly explosion at Kabul Airport killed 13 U.S. servicemembers, and their grieving family members are still seeking answers.
Mark Schmitz lost his son, 20-year-old Maine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, who had been deployed to Kabul from Jordan to help with evacuation efforts.
“Not having those phone calls, those Facetimes, those text messages, that’s what I miss the most,” the elder Schmitz told NewsNation.
Schmitz started a nonprofit, The Freedom 13, to help veterans across the country. He says it was the veterans community that rallied behind the families of the fallen 13, not the Biden administration.
“I think they’re doing everything they can not to talk about it. I don’t think they have said my son’s name,” Schmitz said.
Questions remain over the Biden administrations’ handling of the withdrawal, and there are calls for the president to share the name of the suicide bomber.
Mark told NewsNation’s Leland Vittert that the government hasn’t been held accountable.
Another Marine who was there that day, 24-year-old Tristan Hirsch, told his local California newspaper that the Marines knew of the suicide bomber two days before the attack.
He has reportedly said, “We knew what he looked like. The CIA let us know; he looked exactly as they’d described him,” and that they were told not to kill him.
“They (the Marines) had a lock on the suspected terrorist,” Mark recently learned. “They put a request in for a kill shot and were denied. They were told to stand down. I’d like to know why. Who made that call? How many people were involved in that?”
On Friday, the Defense Department told NewsNation that after a long investigation, they “are aware of no request before the explosion, or reasonable assertion after, that the bomber could have been killed before detonating their suicide vest.”
Biden also issued a statement Friday about the 13 service members, saying, “Our nation can never repay such incredible sacrifice.” The White House has promised it has not lost focus on the victims or their families.