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Body of Jackson marine killed in Kabul brought back to United States

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DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.—— The body of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum from Jackson, Wyoming, is now back in the United States. He was one of the 13 U.S. troops killed in the Kabul airport attack last week.

The 20-year-old was on his first deployment and manning a checkpoint at the airport when the attack happened. He was expecting his first child in just three weeks with his wife he had recently married.

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Rylee McCollum | Courtesy Cheyenne McCollum

“He was going to be the best dad,” said Rylee’s sister, Cheyenne McCollum in an interview with EastIdahoNews.com Friday.

Flag-draped transfer cases lined the inside of a C-17 Globemaster II on Sunday prior to a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

President Joe Biden stood witness with grieving families as the remains of the U.S. troops killed in the Kabul suicide bombing were removed from the military aircraft that brought them home.

“The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others,” Biden said. “Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far.”

Those who passed ranged in age from 20 to 31, and came from California and Massachusetts and states in between. 

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U.S. service members are pallbearers for the service members killed in action | Courtesy U.S. Marines

Cheyenne tells EastIdahoNews.com that they were able to retrieve Rylee on Sunday.

People far and wide have been showing support to the McCollum family and honoring Rylee for his service.

“We’ve had an incredible amount of people reach out to us and people that we don’t even know that knew him or at least crossed paths with him who just thought he was the best kid,” said Cheyenne.

Locals in Wyoming like Sidewinders American Grill posted on Facebook, “Yesterday, we reserved 13 seats for the U.S. Troops who tragically lost their lives in the Kabul bombing. For those men and women, we left out 13 beers on the table to honor and remember their lives. We lost one of our very own, Rylee McCollum. To him and all the other fearless soldiers, thank you for your service. SEMPER FI.”

On Friday, at Jackson Hole High School, football players and bystanders honored Rylee McCollum at a football game. The McCollum family was present.

Rylee was a 2019 graduate of Summit Innovations School in Jackson.

Donations are pouring in for Rylee’s unborn child and his widow. As of Sunday, almost $487,000 had been raised through two online fundraising campaigns, one for Rylee’s child’s future education costs and one for his widow.

Funeral services are still being planned. Local and surrounding veteran organizations are coming together to support the McCollum family during these hard times and those in contact with the family say they are planning to have Rylee’s funeral scheduled after the baby arrives in about two weeks.

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