Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo was one of 13 U.S. service members killed in the suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport last week – and she was also a proud Dominican American, daughter, sister, girlfriend, aunt, student and teacher, according to the U.S. Marine captain who was her officer in charge for more than a year.
Better known as Rosario, the 25-year-old Marine from Lawrence, Mass., was assigned to the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Naval Support Activity Bahrain.
Rosario was helping to screen evacuees at a checkpoint at Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate when an ISIS-K suicide bomber set off an explosion, killing 13 U.S. service members and more than 100 Afghan civilians.
“Each death is tragic, worthy of equal parts sorrow, admiration, and appreciation, but one name left me heartbroken,” Austin Keeley wrote in a moving Facebook post Monday. “You may have seen her listed as Sergeant Johanny Rosario or Sergeant Johanny Rosariopichardo, but I knew her as Sergeant Rosie, and I had the honor of serving as her Officer in Charge for 15 months before she headed to the Middle East.”
He wrote that when they first met, she was a corporal in charge of a $659,000 budget. They bonded over their shared roots in Massachusetts, and her niece was the same age as his daughter.
She was taking online courses while still an active-duty Marine, Keeley wrote, and she had completed 83 of 120 required credits.
She was also a selfless Marine Corps sergeant, he added.
“Last week, on the day Rosie headed back to Afghanistan she emailed me the following: ‘I also got to deploy and I’m redeploying again so I feel like if I were to EAS next year, I would leave feeling accomplished and happy that I was able to do and experience the things I wanted,’” Keeley wrote. “Read it again. She didn’t have to deploy, she GOT to deploy. To Rosie, service was a privilege.”