Thirteen US service members were killed and 18 were injured in an attack outside Kabul’s airport on Thursday, as the US and other Western countries raced to evacuate their citizens and allies out of Afghanistan.
While the Pentagon has not released the identities of the US service members who were killed, families have begun identifying their loved ones as victims in the attack.
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, who was 20 years old, was “an amazing man with a passion for the Marines.”
He was a lance corporal, she added.
“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.”
A US Marine from Nebraska was also killed in the attack.
Cpl. Daegan Page was 23 years old, his family said in a statement provided to CNN.
“Daegan will always be remembered for his tough outer shell and giant heart,” the family statement said. “Our hearts are broken, but we are thankful for the friends and family who are surrounding us during this time.”
They said he planned to possibly become a lineman once his Marine enlistment was finished.
Page was raised partly in Iowa and near Omaha, Nebraska, and served at Camp Pendleton in California. He had four siblings, the statement added.
“He loved hunting and spending time outdoors with his dad, as well as being out on the water,” the family said. “He was also an animal lover with a soft spot in his heart for dogs.”
Page joined the US Marine Corps after graduating from Millard South High School, the statement added.
He was a longtime Boy Scout and “he enjoyed playing hockey for Omaha Westside in the Omaha Hockey Club and was a diehard Chicago Blackhawks fan.”
US Navy corpsman Maxton Soviak also died in the attack, the family told CNN in a statement.
“He was most proud to be a navy corpsman and a ‘devil doc’ for the Marines,” his parents, Kip and Rachel Soviak, told CNN in a statement.
“His final words to (Rachel) over FaceTime, when he was telling her goodbye was after she told him to be safe and he said ‘Don’t worry mom, my guys got me they won’t let anything happen to me.’ Today she realized that they all just went together,” the statement said.
They described Maxton as an “awesome young man” who was “well liked in the community as evidenced by the outpouring of condolences from teachers, coaches, employers, family, and friends.”
“Maxton was always proud of being part of a state champion wrestling team and state playoff final four football team two years in a row,” the statement added.
Maxton had 12 brothers and sisters.
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.