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Utah Marine among 13 US service members killed in Kabul attack

SALT LAKE CITY A U.S. Marine from Utah is among the 13 U.S. service members who were killed in Thursday’s attack outside the Kabul airport.

Family and friends confirmed to KSL TV that Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, 31, died in Thursday’s devastating suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that also left well over 100 Afghans dead.

Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff confirmed there was only one bombing outside the airport’s Abbey Gate, saying initial confusion led to reports of a second bombing at a nearby hotel.

Officials said Marines were at the gate doing pat downs when the bomb went off.

Taylor Hoover’s father, Darin, shared on Facebook that he got to see his son before he left.

His message went on to say: “I love you son!!! You’re my hero!! Please check in on us once in a while. I’ll try to make you proud!!”

Darin Hoover is a deputy with the Daggett County Sheriff’s Office and was driving there when he got the news about his son.

As word spread, neighbors and friends started surrounding the family home in Sandy with flags.

His father told KSL-TV his son was just an all-around good guy who loved serving his country and helping others.

“A parent is not supposed to bury his kids,” said Hoover. “I can handle it if it was me, but not my boy.”

Hoover heard about the explosion in Afghanistan on Thursday.

A little while later, he heard his phone ring.

“He was helping those that were less fortunate, those that can’t help themselves, serving his country,” said Hoover.

Serving in the military is something Hoover said his son always wanted to do since he was a little boy.

“When 9/11 happened, he was only 11 years old, and at that point, he had already made up his mind at 11,” he said.

Even his close friend remembered how Taylor always talked about wanting to serve his country.

“It’s all he wanted,” said Kayleigh Snedeger. “Taylor was the type of guy that would jump in front of a train for anybody.”

Taylor Hoover played football at Hillcrest High School, graduated in 2008, then joined the Marines, and ended up serving three tours of duty in Afghanistan.

“He loved this country meant more to him than anything else, besides his family,” said his father.

Proud doesn’t even begin to explain how his family feels.

“That’s just the type of man he was, doing what he needed to do and getting the job done for those who couldn’t do it for themselves,” said Hoover.

The family is leaving Saturday morning. They’re flying to a military base, most likely Dover, where Hoover’s body will be brought later this weekend.

As far as funeral arrangements, it’s still too early to know, but no doubt, when it does, especially after just seeing the support here in this neighborhood, a lot of people are going to want to pay their respects and say thank you.

In the meantime, a GoFundMe* account has been set up to support his family and help out with any expenses from the burial.

According to the page, the GoFundMe was started by fellow Marines Taylor served with while serving with 3rd Battalion 7th Marines.

*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

Utah Leaders React To Staff Sgt. Hoover’s Death

Gov. Spencer Cox ordered flags across Utah to be lowered in honor of Hoover’s ultimate sacrifice.

He also issued a statement Friday, saying in part, “Staff Sgt. Hoover served valiantly as a Marine and died serving his fellow countrymen as well as America’s allies in Afghanistan. We honor his tremendous bravery and commitment to his country.”

The governor went on to condemn the “senseless violence” that resulted in Hoover’s death.

“We pray for Staff Sgt. Hoover, his family and loved ones during this most difficult time,” the statement concluded.

Lt. Gov. Deidre M. Henderson also shared her thoughts on Hoover’s passing.

She posted a statement to social media, which read, “I’m heartbroken to hear of the passing of Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the loved ones of all those who died in the tragic attacks at the Kabul airport. Our U.S. service members protect us every day, and we owe them immeasurable debt of gratitude.”

Utah Sen. Mike Lee said “burying a child is a grief no parent should bear,” adding that he and his wife mourn with family and loved ones of Hoover.

Lee’s statement went on to say, “He lived the Marine Corps motto by living and dying always faithful. And now, he, like the good Marines who have gone before him, can truly see that ‘on heaven’s scenes, you will find the streets are guarded by United States Maries.'”

Sen. Mitt Romney also spoke out on the Marine’s death.

“One of Utah’s own laid down his life to protect Americans and Afghans alike. Ann and I send our deepest condolences to Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover’s loved ones. We are in debt to him and his family for their sacrifice.”

Former Utah Governor Gary Herbert shared a brief statement on Twitter, writing, “Jeanette and I are devastated to learn of the tragic loss of Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, one of Utah’s own. May God bless the family and loved ones he leaves behind and may we all wrap our arms around them. Thank you for your service Sgt. Hoover.”

KSL 5 TV Live