Heartwrenching details of the thirteen U.S. troops killed in the recent Kabul suicide bombing have emerged. Rylee McCollum, a young marine dad-to-be from Wyoming, is among those who lost their lives in the Taliban-captured Afghanistan.
Eleven marines, one Navy sailor, and one soldier from the army were among those killed at the airport in Afghanistan's Kabul. At least 18 other U.S. service members were severely wounded and dozens of Afghans have died in the suicide bombing attack. The suicide attack was claimed by Afghanistan's offshoot of the Islamic State group.
McCollum was sent to Afghanistan when the evacuation began. It was his first deployment, and he was deployed at a checkpoint at the airport when the suicide bomb went off, according to a statement released by his family.
McCollum wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach when he finished serving his country. "Riley will always be a hero not just for the ultimate sacrifice he made for the country but for the way he impacted every life around him for the better. Making a stronger kinder, teaching us to love deeper, We love you, Rylee," the statement further read.
McCollum, a native of Bondurant, was about to become a father in three weeks and was very excited to be a dad, according to his sister Cheyenne McCollum, who said that he was going to be a great dad.
The sister of the martyred U.S. marine further said that her brother was a Marine even before he knew he was allowed to be one. "He'd carry around his toy rifle and wear his sister's pink princess snow boots and he'd either be hunting or he was a Marine. Sometimes it would be with nothing on underneath, just a T-shirt," McCollum's sister said.
McCollum was deployed at the security perimeter at the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport when the suicide bomber detonated explosives that killed over 170 people, including the 13 U.S. service members.
Rylee McCollum, 20, graduated from the Jackson Hole High School and Summit Innovations School in Jackson. He had a passion for serving his country and was a decorated wrestler.
U.S. Soldiers Who Died in the Kabul Airport Blast
- Maxton Soviak, 22
- Kareem Nikoui, 20
- David Lee Espinoza, 20
- Rylee McCollum, 20
- Jared Schmitz, 20
- Hunter Lopez, 22
- Daegan Page, 23
- Ryan Knauss, 23
- Darin Taylor Hoover Jr., 31
The four other service members killed in the attack are yet to be identified.
Joe Biden Pledges To Strike Back After ISIS-K Suicide Attack
On Thursday, August 26, Joe Biden delivered a stark message from the White House pledging that the evacuation of Afghanistan will continue. "We will not forgive. We will not forget," Biden said adding, "We will hunt you down and make you pay." This was one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. forces since the war began.
Biden commended the bravery and sacrifice of the U.S. military and called the deaths tragic but worthy for the mission.