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Jackson Hole, WY News

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GALLERY: Homecoming of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum

The remains of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, the valley native who was killed along with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 in Afghanistan, are brought home to Jackson Hole. Thousands gathered from around the region along the motorcade's route through Jackson to honor McCollum, one of the last casualties of America's longest war.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

An honor guard from the Salt Lake City Inspector-Instructor Staff & Rifle Company F, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines, waits for the remains of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum to arrive at Jackson Hole Airport on Friday afternoon. A crowd of thousands from around the region gathered to honor the Jackson native who was killed with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 in Afghanistan during operations to evacuate Americans and U.S. allies from Kabul.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

Marines salute Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum at Jackson Hole Airport.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

An honor guard from the Salt Lake City Inspector-Instructor Staff & Rifle Company F, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines, carries the casket of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum after its arrival at Jackson Hole Airport on Friday afternoon. See next Wednesday’s Jackson Hole News&Guide for the full story on McCollum’s homecoming, which drew a crowd of thousands from around the region to honor the Jackson native who was killed with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 in Afghanistan during operations to evacuate Americans and U.S. allies from Kabul.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

An honor guard from the Salt Lake City Inspector-Instructor Staff & Rifle Company F, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines carries the casket of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum after arrival at Jackson Hole Airport.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

From left, Major General Greg Porter, Adjutant General for Wyoming, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, Sen. Cynthia Lummis, Sen. John Barrasso and Gov. Mark Gordon watch a Marine Corps honor guard deliver the casket of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum after arrival at Jackson Hole Airport on Friday. McCollum's homecoming drew a crowd of thousands from around the region to honor the Jackson native who was killed with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 in Afghanistan during operations to evacuate Americans and U.S. allies from Kabul.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

Jim McCollum watches the honor guard after the Marines delivered the casket of his son, Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Tori Kemper, Casualty Officer with the Salt Lake City Inspector-Instructor Staff & Rifle Company F (-) 2d Battalion, 23rd Marines, embraces Jim McCollum after his son's remains arrived at Jackson Hole Airport. "They don't get easier," Kemper said of the process of informing and comforting the families of Marines killed in action. "They get more painful."

Rylee McCollum homecoming

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Tori Kemper, Casualty Officer with the Salt Lake City Inspector-Instructor Staff & Rifle Company F (-) 2d Battalion, 23rd Marines, speaks with Sgt. Harley Bishop, a Marine from Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum's unit who asked to accompany his remains home to Jackson. "I told him that I knew it was hard to bring a fallen brother home, and seeing his family standing next to us," Staff Sgt. Kemper said. "I told him to never hold anything in or to let it build up and that I was always here for him to talk to; that he did an honorable thing not only for [McCollum's] family, but for our fallen brother.”

Rylee McCollum homecoming

Law enforcement line up to escort remains of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum into Jackson from the Jackson Hole Airport.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

Thousands gathered Friday to honor Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, who grew up in Jackson and was killed along with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 in Afghanistan, after his remains were returned to Jackson Hole.

Rylee Mccollum Homecoming

Community members write messages on a poster Friday in downtown Jackson for the family of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum. 

Rylee Mccollum Homecoming

A young boy, holding red, white and blue flowers, watches Rylee McCollum’s motorcade pass by during McCollum’s homecoming.

Rylee Mccollum Homecoming

The Jackson Hole Community Band plays patriotic music as community members gather to honor Rylee McCollum, the Jackson native who was killed with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 in Afghanistan during operations to evacuate Americans and U.S. allies from Kabul.

Rylee Mccollum Homecoming

Jenna Christie, 17, and Emma Stone, 17, hold signs that say “Remember the Fallen” at Town Square to welcome home Rylee McCollum, a Marine who was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 26. Both were friends of McCollum, and recall him saying that becoming a Marine was his best accomplishment.

Rylee Mccollum Homecoming

Wade Johnson and his two sons, Jude and Jeremiah, hold American flags Friday to honor Rylee McCollum, a Jackson native.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

A hearse bearing the remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum passes through downtown Jackson on Friday. Thousands from around the region came to honor the Jackson native who was killed with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 in Afghanistan. See the article on page 25A.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

Thousands gathered Friday to honor Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, the valley native who was killed along with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 in Afghanistan, after his remains were returned to Jackson Hole.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

Americans stand solemnly, some holding flags in their hands and hats over their hearts, as Rylee McCollum’s motorcade passed through Jackson.

Rylee McCollum homecoming

Crowds lined Jackson streets Friday to honor Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, killed along with 12 other U.S. service members by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

Rylee Mccollum Homecoming

People gathered at Town Square with flags, posters and flowers to honor McCollum for his service guarding the Kabul airport to allow evacuation of Americans and their allies.

Contact Brad Boner at 732-7064 or email photo@jhnewsandguide.com. Follow on Twitter @JHNGphoto.

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