A Wyoming Farewell for Marine Killed in Afghanistan Bombing

11 months ago 150

JACKSON, Wyo.—Dozens of U.S. chap Marines joined hundreds of Wyoming residents to bid a last farewell astatine a memorial for Rylee McCollum, 1 of 13 U.S. servicemen killed successful a termination bombing arsenic they guarded a gross astatine a chaotic Kabul, Afghanistan airdrome during the last U.S. evacuation from that country.

Many of the Marines were members of the 20-year-old McCollum’s portion serving successful Afghanistan erstwhile helium was killed connected Aug. 26. McCollum, a Marine lance corporal, grew up, went to school, and enlisted for the Corps successful the upland vale country known arsenic Jackson Hole, location to the municipality of Jackson. He was honored during Saturday’s Jackson work attended by much than 400 people.

“We knew his potential. I knew helium had the mindset,” said Staff Sgt. Luis Diaz, who recruited McCollum into the Corps. “I knew helium had the tone to execute thing helium wanted.”

McCollum was a dedicated Marine, enthusiastic and funny, said Cpl. Wyatt Wilson. When thing had to beryllium done, Wilson told the Jackson gathering, “I ever grabbed Rylee due to the fact that I knew it would beryllium done close the archetypal time,” the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported.

Ten different Marines, a U.S. Army soldier, and a Navy corpsman besides died successful the detonation arsenic they guarded a gross astatine Hamid Karzai International Airport. Twenty different work members were wounded, and dozens of civilians were killed.

Mourners remembered McCollum arsenic a “roly-poly” lad who became a ascendant precocious schoolhouse wrestler, a young antheral who ever told radical helium wanted to go a U.S. Marine.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, who attended with U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, said Americans “should rejoice that heroes similar Rylee are born.” Gordon ordered U.S. flags successful the authorities to beryllium flown astatine half-staff to grant McCollum, who died successful his archetypal deployment.

On Sept. 13, Jiennah Crayton, McCollum’s widow, gave commencement to a girl, Levi Rylee Rose McCollum. Online fundraising efforts person raised implicit $1 cardinal for the baby’s acquisition and mother.

McCollum’s widow, his father, Jim, and sisters Cheyenne, Roice, and Stephenie attended Saturday’s service.

McCollum died astir 20 years aft the decease of different Wyoming worker drew nationalist attention. Army Ranger Spc. Jonn Edmunds, 20, of Cheyenne, was 1 of the war’s archetypal 2 casualties erstwhile a Black Hawk chopper crashed Oct. 19, 2001, during a search-and-rescue mission.

The Associated Press