A U.S. Marine killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan that also claimed the lives of 10 of his comrades and two other service members will be honored Saturday during a service in Norco, as preparations are made to bring his remains home in exactly two weeks.
City officials, along with veterans’ organizations, plan to hold a remembrance service for 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Kareem Grant Nikoui at George Ingalls Equestrian Center, 3737 Crestview Drive, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday.
“The U.S. Marine, who graduated from Norco High School in 2019 and served in JROTC, was committed to serving his country and is survived by his mother, father and siblings,” according to a city statement issued last week. “Nikoui’s name will be enshrined on the `Lest We Forget Wall’ at Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza, which honors Norconians who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation.”
Nikoui, 10 other Marines, a Navy corpsman and a soldier were killed on Aug. 26 when a terrorist suicide bomber detonated explosives at the airport in Kabul, where evacuations were underway amid the Taliban retaking of the country.
Another Riverside County man, 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez of Indio, died in the same blast.
According to Cypress-based Honoring Our Fallen, Nikoui’s remains are slated to be returned home on Sept. 17. The nonprofit said that a “Fallen Hero Procession” is planned, saluting the young man and his family as the flag-draped coffin is borne from Ontario International Airport to Crestlawn Mortuary in Riverside.
“The airport arrival will remain private for the family,” Honoring Our Fallen founder Laura Herzog said.
The hearse and accompanying vehicles are tentatively scheduled to leave the tarmac at noon that Friday and will go south on Vineyard Avenue, joining the Pomona (60) Freeway eastbound, going a mile before transitioning to Interstate 15 southbound.
The procession will exit onto Sixth Street in Jurupa Valley, turning east again, then go north on California Avenue before turning east a final time onto North Drive, where the mortuary is located.
All those interested in honoring the fallen Marine were encouraged to take safe roadside positions, flags in hand, to pay respects as the procession passes.