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Kabul Gold Star Mom's Message to Biden One Year After Her Son Was Killed in Afghanistan

Marine Lance Corporal Dylan Merola was among the 13 U.S. service members who were killed in the ISIS-K attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport's Abbey Gate during President Joe Biden's botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.


A native of Rancho Cucamonga, California, Merola "was an amazing kid, was always happy, [and] enthusiastic about joining the Marine Corps," according to Cheryl Rex, his mother.

Rex and Merola's grandmother, Clarinda Montsuoka, spoke with Townhall about Merola's life and what has happened to their family since the devastating news of the attack reached them last year. 

Rex said Merola loved every part about being a U.S. Marine, from the training to bonding with his brothers in arms. Rex recalled how she asked her son if his unit would be going to Afghanistan to aid in the evacuation. She did not hear from him for a full day before responding that they would be going to Kabul.

"He was so proud, all of them were actually really proud and excited to help out...It was a non-combative situation at the time so they were just really proud to be going out there," Rex said.

On the morning of August 26, 2021, Rex explained she woke up in a panic after having a nightmare about Merola. When she reached to grab her cell phone, that's when she saw a news alert about the attack at Abbey Gate. Montsuoka said she was at work, hearing about the attack from her coworkers watching the T.V. in the break room.


"I immediately began to cry because I knew my grandson was there. When we were texting in our family chat, it's a feeling...It was a feeling that we all were scared," Montsuoka said.

When it comes to the aftermath, Rex says she wants accountability for what happened to her son.

"There's been no accountability on this situation...I don't believe that them going out and putting on the news and the media saying it was a successful mission," when American citizens and key allies where left behind, in addition to the ISIS-K attack.

Rex said she had heard from the Marines who were on the ground that the U.S. had identified the suicide bomber before the attack and were denied permission to take him out. Rex and Montsuoka say they want the rest of the country to know that Merola "was a great kid" and his story should be told for "years and years to come."

Watch Townhall's full interview in the video above, and watch the first interview in this series here.


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