US Marine killed in Afghanistan blast was newlywed from Wyoming

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) – Rylee McCollum, one of 13 US service members killed in the airport suicide bombing in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, was a Wyoming native who graduated from a local high school two years ago before joining the US Marine Corps, state officials said on Friday (Aug 27).

The US Defence Department has not formally announced the names of the American service members killed in Thursday’s attack, but Wyoming’s governor and superintendent of education said McCollum was among the dead.

Facebook pages appearing to belong to McCollum and his wife show wedding photos from May and indicate that the couple were expecting a child.

“I’m devastated to learn Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Kabul,” Governor Mark Gordon wrote on Twitter.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Rylee McCollum.”

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attack, which came during a massive evacuation of US and other foreign nationals as well as some Afghan civilians following the Taleban takeover in Afghanistan. The Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, ISIS-Khorosan, has emerged as an enemy of both the West and of the Taleban.

McCollum was a 2019 graduate of Jackson Hole High School in Wyoming, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said.

“Saying that I am grateful for Rylee’s service to our country does not begin to encapsulate the grief and sadness I feel today as a mother and as an American,” Balow said in a statement.

“My heart and prayers are with Rylee’s family, friends, and the entire Jackson community.”

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