Parents of U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing attack at Kabul Airport during the botched Afghanistan withdrawal spoke at a town hall in Escondido, CA on Monday morning that was hosted by Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA). Nearly two years after the horrific attack, families haven’t received answers to many questions about the attack and there’s been no accountability for the failures that led to what Gold Star Mother Christy Shamblin calls the murder of her daughter and 11 others.
Shamblin delivered an emotional speech Monday morning remembering Marine Sgt. Nicole T. Gee, her daughter-in-law, and excoriating the Biden administration and Pentagon officials.
My name is Christy Shamblin, and I’m proud to be Sgt. Nicole Gee’s mom-in-law. Her mama, Becky Herrera, would be here today, but she unfortunately passed before Nicole, and I like to think that she was waiting for her in heaven…
One of my favorite memories of Nicole includes the picture that was taken of her just days before her murder in Afghanistan. She’s holding an infant and she posted with that, “I love my job.” She’s in the middle of the most horrific conditions I’ve ever witnessed in my life, and she’s proudly serving her country and loving her job, doing it 100 percent. She held nothing back.
She said that her son was also an active-duty Marine, and the two were stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. She was with him the day he was notified that Nicole was among those who died in the bombing, and attended the dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base with him on that day when Joe Biden was observed checking his watch while the families grieved.
There have been no answers for these families about why the drone operator who had a lock on the bomber was denied permission to shoot, why the Abbey Gate was still open when the Pentagon knew of the credible threat and even the approximate day and time the attack would be carried out, why the U.S. simply released prisoners held at Bagram Air Field when that base was abandoned (much to the surprise of our Afghan allies), and much more. This has made it even more difficult for the families, Shamblin says.
When your child is murdered, you feel there is no justice, and you question your very existence….
You gain small footings every day to make a new chapter in your lives.
One way that new chapter is written is by “helping for a positive change,” she says, but everyday Americans help by listening to their stories.
We’re so very grateful for people like yourselves and for Americans who want to hear our childrens’ stories, because we don’t get to make new memories with our children. All we have is our memories. All we have is the stories that we get to share with you guys.
We’re grateful for the support of people like Congressman Issa and several other congressmen who have been taking us and really allowing us to have our voices heard and to make it better for both our active-duty service members, our veterans, and the next families that will have to welcome their children home in a casket draped with a flag. It will happen again. It is the cost of the greatest country on earth, and it’s the cost of our freedoms. And we want to make sure that while we can’t bring our children back, the next ones will be treated with more respect, the respect that they earned by dying for our country. Helping for a positive change is the silver lining for our family.
“Be a grown ass man. Admit to your mistakes… so this doesn’t ever, ever happen again”
-Gold Star dad, Darin Hoover
This has been on my leg since I met Christy Shambling and Nicole Gee’s family.
— Joey Jones (@Johnny_Joey) August 7, 2023
Despite all of the evidence to the contrary the Biden administration continues to call the Afghanistan withdrawal a success, which is a disrespectful stab to the heart of these families and to the memories of those murdered.
When our leaders, including the Secretary of Defense and our Commander in Chief, called this evacuation a success, as if there should be celebration, it is like a knife in the heart for our families and for the people who came back and for every service member that served over this 20-year war.
Sgt. Nicole Gee is greeted, mourned, and honored as she’s carried by her fellow Marines after she carried the title of United States Marine with honor until her last breath that came way too soon. Fair winds and following seas, Marine. You and your sacrifice will not be forgotten pic.twitter.com/RkhZZLDxc9
— Zero Blog Thirty (@ZeroBlog30) August 29, 2021
As mentioned above, many failures led to that horrible moment when 13 Americans were killed and there were several opportunities to stop it. Shamblin continued:
I live every single day knowing that these deaths were preventable. My daughter could be with us today. And that wasn’t just one decision. It was many decisions. Many times over it could have been stopped. So, to call it a success is an ultimate disrespect for the very people that deserve every ounce of respect that we can give them.
That day, there were 13 avoidable deaths of our service members, 30-plus critically wounded, wounded warriors, who have our hearts. These young men and women came back bigger patriots than they left. I don’t know how that’s possible, and I admire them from the bottom of my heart.
We left thousands – thousands – of allies behind, billions of dollars in resources for them to use against us. This was not a success, and doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. What we’re asking for is to stop the insanity and make it better for the next group.
At the conclusion of Monday’s proceedings Issa promised that he and others in Congress are not going to let this issue rest, that they have critical questions for the Pentagon and won’t stop until they have all of the answers.
Watch Shamblin’s full remarks below.