While the Pentagon has not released the identities of the US service members who were killed, the family of US Marine Rylee McCollum confirmed to CNN that he died in Thursday’s blast.
Roice McCollum, Rylee’s older sister, said her brother was “an amazing man with a passion for the Marines.”
“He was a son, a brother, a husband and a father with a baby due in just 3 weeks,” she told CNN in a statement, adding that Rylee had wanted to be a Marine his whole life, so much so that even as a toddler he carried around a toy rifle in his diapers and cowboy boots.
Roice said that her brother, a native of Wyoming, was on his first deployment and had been determined to be infantry. He was sent to Afghanistan when the evacuation began and had been manning the check point when the suicide bomb went off, she said.
“Rylee wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach when he finished serving his country,” she said. “Rylee will always be a hero, not just for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country but for the way he impacted every life around him for the better. Making us stronger, kinder, teaching us to love deeper. We love you Rylee.”
Rylee, she remembered, was tough but a kind and loving person that “made an impact on everyone he met.”