U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a combat veteran of the Global War on Terrorism and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke on the Senate Floor today to honor the life of Marine Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Page of Red Oak, Iowa, who was one of the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed in a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport on August 26, 2021.
Senator Ernst’s full remarks can be read below:
“Words can’t describe the emotions I felt watching the ruthless Taliban once again seize control of Afghanistan, the very same country from where terrorists plotted the attacks on America two decades earlier.
“The world watched hopelessly as tens of thousands of people, including American citizens and our Afghan allies, desperately attempted to escape the terror and bleak future certain to return under the rule of the Taliban.
“Through the chaos and panic, the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces—who once freed the nation from the terrorist regime—stood as protectors at the Kabul airport for those desperately seeking to find a way out.
“Then, on August 26, a terrorist attack at the airport claimed the lives of 13 of these brave service members who were assisting with the evacuation, marking one of the deadliest days for U.S. forces during the 20 year conflict.
“Marine Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Page was one of those killed in action on that day.
“Daegan was a young man from Red Oak, Iowa who truly represents the greatness of our state, our country, and the U.S. Marine Corps in which he proudly served.
“Daegan may have been just 23 years old, but he died a hero who lived a life of service to his community and his nation.
“Our hearts go out to those to whom he meant the most.
“His girlfriend Jessica, his parents—Wendy and Craig Adelson and Greg and Jenni Page, his grandparents, and his four siblings—Corey, Garrett, Mason, and Emerson—to whom Daegan has always been a hero, even before he became a Marine.
“The wounds of war aren’t just borne by the warrior. It is the family of the fallen who carry the scars of war for a lifetime.
“The hole left in their lives by the loss of Daegan can never be filled.
“So let’s also keep Daegan’s family in our prayers.
“Being from Red Oak, Iowa, I know Daegan’s family well. I’ve grown up with Dagean’s family.
“It was my best friend in Red Oak who texted me after that explosion at the Kabul airport. She’s the one who told me that Wendy’s son Daegan has been killed in this explosion. So I gave the family time to come together.
“And that next morning, I called Wendy’s mother Peggy. I love Peggy very much – and her entire family very much. And I told her I was so sorry about the loss of Daegan. And she told me, ‘Joni, just please let everyone know what an amazing young man that Daegan was. He was an extraordinary young man.’
“She told me before we ended our conversation: ‘Joni, give that precious Libby of yours a hug for me, like I used to do so many years ago when she was a little girl. You never know when you’ll get that last hug from someone you love.’
“And Peggy, I did. I gave my daughter Libby a hug.
“While Daegan was a tough Marine – he really was, again an amazing young man – was fun-loving with a giant heart and a soft spot for animals, especially his three dogs Shyia, Gracie, and Finn.
“Growing up in Red Oak and then the Omaha area, Daegan’s commitment to service began at a young age as a longtime member of the Boy Scouts.
“While he was just a child when the terrorists attacked America on September 11, 2001, after graduating from Millard South High School he answered the call to serve his country by joining the U.S. Marine Corps.
“Daegan’s family says, He loved the brotherhood of the Marines and was proud to serve as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.
“Daegan was always a dedicated team member, according to his former hockey teammates, who together won the Nebraska state championship tournament.
“Omaha’s hockey community is fittingly paying tribute to Daegan by placing hockey sticks on their porches in his memory.
“A memorial service to celebrate his life is being held Friday at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Omaha.
“Like his family, teammates, and fellow service members, we mourn the loss of Daegan, but also honor his heroism and his valor.
“He has been awarded the Purple Heart for making that ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty.
“His life in Red Oak, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska, and death remind us that this world is a very dangerous place with many wishing to do the United States harm. Our protection here at home depends upon the sacrifice and service of many heroes, those like Daegan.
“Let it not be forgotten, that thousands of other lives were rescued from pending doom because of the bravery of Daegan and the 12 other service members who lost their lives that day while standing guard to ensure the safe passage of others out of Afghanistan.
“While it’s heartbreaking that he was taken from this world too soon, Daegan will forever have the gratitude of our nation.“So Wendy and Greg, and to your families, please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beautiful son Daegan.
“The American people will never forget him, nor will they ever forget his life of service.
“Semper fidelis, Daegan, and Godspeed.”