Folsom native Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews joined several Veterans before the House Foreign Affairs Commitee


A Folsom Marine Sergeant took the stand on Capitol Hill today to testify in the first round of hearings on the 2021 United Stated withdrawal from Afghanistan, where 13 service members were killed and 45 injured as they tried to help fellow Americans and Afghan allies flee the nation under fire. 

Marine Sgt. Tyler Andrews-Vargas was one of those injured in the bombing at Kabul’s airport on Aug. 26 of 2021. Wednesday afternoon, the Folsom native shared his emotional testimony before the House Foreign Relations Committee, which heard words from several veterans during the day. 


Vargas recounted the events of that day in which he nearly lost his life and witnessed the brutal attack on his fellow service men and women.  Shedding tears as he spoke, Vargas gave the committee and those watching a vivid image what he experienced that day. 

“I opened my eyes to Marines dead or unconscious lying around me,” he shared. “My body was overwhelmed from the trauma of the blast. My abdomen had been ripped open, every inch of my exposed body except for my face took ball bearings and shrapnel.”


Vargas went on to breakdown the timeline of that day as his sniper team was among those who had tracked the suspected suicide bomber. Fighting through his emotions, he explained how they we’re not given the authorization to act or fire on the subject by upper commanders, even though they had identified him. Later in the day the bombing took place. (See full testimony in C-Span provided video)

Sergeant Vargas-Andrews continues to receive long-term medical care and rehabilitation from the injuries he endured in the bombing.  Among the many injuries was the loss of his left leg at the hip and his right arm above the elbow. He also lost a kidney in the bombing. 

 The Folsom High School alumni spent a year in the hospital and had already undergone 43 surgeries before he returned home to Folsom for a visit last summer.  The surgeries and the treatments have since continued after his visit, and the vivid memories remain clear of what he and others went through that day. 


Vargas-Andrews graduated from Folsom High School in 2016. During his youth, he had a great passion for playing baseball and soccer.  He joined the Marine Corps on August 28, 2017, and was initially assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, based at Camp Pendleton.

“Our military members and veterans deserve our best because that is what we give to America. The withdrawal was a catastrophe in my opinion, and there was an inexcusable lack of accountability and negligence,” Vargas-Andrews testified. “The 11 Marines, one sailor and one soldier that were murdered that day have not been answered for.”


House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas was one of the many who listed to Andrews and other Veterans Tuesday.  

“This was an abdication of the most basic duties of the United States government to protect Americans and leave no one behind,” McCaul has noted. “I want every gold and blue star family member and every veteran out there watching this today to know that I will not rest and this committee will not rest until we determine how this happened, and hold those responsible for it accountable.”

The hearings are expected to continue for the days to come.

During his visit back home in 2022, Vargas-Andrews received a warm welcome from the Folsom community. He was honored at the Folsom-Pro Rodeo and despite the injuries and trauma he endured he shared many humble words of positivity, including his plans to one day open an adaptive gym to give back to the community. 

*Imagery Courtesy of C-SPAN

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Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan