Fact Check: Men In Photo NOT Killed in Afghanistan

Fact Check

  • by: Chandler Friedman
Fact Check: Men In Photo NOT Killed in Afghanistan Not Them!

Did a photo circulating online show the servicemen killed in Afghanistan in August 2021? No, that's not true: The men shown in this photo were killed in a military plane crash in Mississippi in 2017.

The claim was in a Facebook post (archived here) published on August 27, 2021. It reads:

🇺🇸 NEVER FORGET...........A Salute to our Fallen Warriors........R. I. P. 🦅 🦅 🦅

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Sat Aug 28 17:31:42 2021 UTC)

The photo of these men appears to have been lifted from Associated Press reporting about a military plane that crashed in Mississippi in 2017. Lead Stories found a version on the website for WSAV-TV, an NBC-affiliated TV station in Savannah, Georgia. The two images side by side shows their striking similarities:


The identities of the 13 servicemembers killed was reported by the Washington Post on August 28, 2021. According to their reporting they were:

  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, Jackson, Wyoming
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, of Wentzville, Missouri
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas
  • Navy Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California
  • Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, 31, of Utah
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, of Omaha
  • Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, of Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario, 25, Lawrence, Massachusetts
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22, Logansport, Indiana
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, California
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California

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  Chandler Friedman

Chandler Friedman is the Director of Special Projects at Lead Stories. He is a former local and network level assignment editor with nearly 15 years of experience, most recently in Atlanta

Read more about or contact Chandler Friedman

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