Audio: Gold Star dad criticizes President Biden over U.S. withdrawal From Afghanistan

Mark Schmitz at U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee roundtable
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(Missourinet) – Thirteen Gold Star families are seeking “accountability” from the Biden Administration regarding the 2021 U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of their children. Among the families present at a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Roundtable today in Washington, D.C., were the father and stepmother of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz of Wentzville.

Schmitz died on Aug. 21, 2021, following an attack at Abbey Gate in Kabul, Afghanistan. A suicide bomber targeted the Kabul airport, killing 170 civilians and 13 U.S. soldiers who were there to help evacuate Americans and Afghan allies.

The attack left 13 families, including Schmitz’s, with the title of Gold Star Family. This term is used for families who have lost an immediate family member while serving during a time of conflict.


(Video interview courtesy KDSK Channel 5 News)

Schmitz was 20 years old and on his first deployment when he was killed.

Mark Schmitz, Cpl. Schmitz’s father told the committee that he was able to tell his son he loved him one last time the day before his son’s death.

“After landing in Afghanistan, a few days passed before I heard from him,” said Schmitz. “When he finally had a chance to call, he told me he was at Abbey Gate. He said he thought he was going to die during those first couple of days due to the absolute chaos. He said, ‘Dad, the look on these people’s faces is that of utter human desperation, and there’s no way we can save them all.'”

Memories and nightmares are etched into the mind of his stepmother, Jaclyn.

“In fact, Jared’s favorite song was ‘Hero of War,’ and it played nonstop for nearly a year before Jared was sworn in on July 8, 2019. Little did we know the song would take on a whole new meaning when we received that knock on the door at 2:40 am,” she said.

During the roundtable, all 13 Gold Star families criticized the Biden Administration’s handling of the attack. They discussed “excuses” from the administration and accused the commander-in-chief of lying about the details of the troop withdrawal.

“Two years have passed, and where are we? To be frank, we are knee-deep in BS,” said Mark Schmitz.

He said he’s done holding back.



“There couldn’t be anything more disgusting and cowardly than the way you have treated us. You are a disgrace to this nation. You have no business commanding our military. I regret not saying that to your face when I had the opportunity in Dover,” said Schmitz. “While I stood on the tarmac watching you check your watch repeatedly, all I wanted to do was shout, ‘It’s two fu**ing thirty, a**hole.’ But out of respect for the other grieving families, I held back.”

Another parent wants to know why the military “ignored red flags” before the attack.

Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner, vice chair of the committee, also participated in the Gold Star Families Roundtable.

“President Biden committed the United States to a deeply flawed and bad plan,” she said. “It was obvious from day one that the hasty exit from Afghanistan would be a disaster and a humanitarian tragedy.”

The White House has blamed the lack of planning by the Trump Administration for the way the troop withdrawal unfolded in Afghanistan.

In Tuesday’s roundtable, a statement from Gen. Mark Milley was read aloud. “We owe them honesty, accountability, and the truth about what happened to their loved ones,” he said.

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, D-PA, defended the Biden Administration’s withdrawal, stating it was a necessary end.

“This 20-year war has cost us so much,” Dean said. “We could not continue to send Americans to fight a war no longer in America’s vital interest.”

She said decisions made over multiple administrations led to the outcome in Afghanistan.

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