Family of fallen Marine to hold public memorial service in Jackson on Saturday
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JACKSON — The family of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum is holding a public memorial service and celebration of life this Saturday and is inviting anyone to come. He was one of the 13 U.S. troops killed in the Kabul airport attack.
McCollum, 20, from Jackson, Wyoming was killed by a suicide bomber when he was manning a checkpoint in Afghanistan on Aug. 26. He was helping the evacuation efforts.
McCollum got married before he left on his first deployment. He was sent to Jordan then to Afghanistan. His wife Gigi gave birth to their daughter last month. Levi Rylee Rose was born on Sep. 13. at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in California.
“He was going to be the best dad,” said Cheyenne McCollum, Rylee’s sister in an interview with EastIdahoNews.com in August.
The services for McCollum will be held this Saturday at the Gill Ranch located off of South Park Loop Road in Jackson. There will be American Flags set up to guide the way for anyone who wants to come.
Rylee’s sister, Roice McCollum shared in a Facebook post, “The service will be under a tent but it will be outside in Wyoming, in October. Dress warm. We are asking anyone who can to bring your own chair. We have no way of accounting for everyone coming to plan for seating. The first half will be a more traditional military service. The evening will be more of a celebration. We would love for people to share stories about Rylee.”
Seating starts at 1 p.m. Bob Tomb, one of the organizers, told EastIdahoNews.com that McCollum’s unit of about 71 marines will be flying in from Camp Pendleton in California to the service.
There will also be a motorcycle group of veterans called POW*MIA Rodeo from Pocatello, that are coming to escort the McCollum family along with marines. There will be a military plane flyover during the service.
Tomb explained there will be a celebration of life starting immediately after the service with free hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine with a bar for mixed drinks. Country singer Jenny Tolman will be there to play songs too.
In September, hundreds of locals and tourists lined the streets of downtown Jackson to honor McCollum when his remains were brought back home to Jackson. McCollum’s body arrived from the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware by a private charter to the Jackson Hole Airport.
McCollum’s family wanted to have a service and celebration of life for him after his wife gave birth to their baby.
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has ordered both the United States and Wyoming State flags be flown at half-staff statewide on Saturday in honor of McCollum.