Although the Pentagon has not released the identities of the killed US servicemen, the family of US Marine Rylee McCollum confirmed to CNN that he was killed in Thursday’s blast.
Roice McCollum, Rylee’s older sister, said her brother, who was 20 years old, was “a wonderful man with a passion for the Marines.”
He was a corporal, she added.
“He was a son, a brother, a husband and a father with a baby to be born in just three weeks,” she told CNN in a statement, adding that Rylee had wanted to be a Marine all his life, so much so that even as a toddler, he carried a toy gun in his diapers and cowboy boots.
Roice said her brother, a Wyoming native, was first deployed and determined to become infantry. He was sent to Afghanistan when the evacuation began and had manned the checkpoint when the suicide bomb went off, she said.
“Rylee wanted to be a history teacher and wrestling coach when he was done serving his country,” she said. “Rylee will always be a hero, not only for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country, but also for the way he influenced every life around him for the better. Making us stronger and kinder, teaching us to love more deeply. We love you Rylee.”
Rylee, she recalled, was tough, but a kind and loving person who “impressed everyone he met.”