Newborn daughter's name honors dad killed in Afghanistan withdrawal

·2 min read

A baby girl born to a widow of the recent Afghanistan bombings bears the name of her late father.

The family of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum announced that his daughter was born on Sept. 13, just weeks after McCollum was killed.

McCollum, 20, died alongside 12 other U.S. service members outside Kabul's airport during an attack executed by the Islamic State terror group on Aug. 26 as troops raced to withdraw from Afghanistan.

In a post on Instagram, McCollum's sister, Cheyenne, shared the happy news of the baby's arrival alongside photos revealing the emotional tribute to the infant's late dad.

"I’m an Aunt! Levi Rylee Rose, you are absolutely perfect. I love you so much and can’t wait to hold you," she captioned two photos of the newborn from the hospital. In the second photo, little Levi is seen in her bassinet with a plush doll made from a photo of her late father in uniform.

McCollum continued with a heartbreaking message to her brother, as well as congratulatory wishes for the baby's mother, Jiennah Crayton.

"We’ve got both your girls Ry, don’t worry. And good job Mama @crayton.gigi Love you all."

The baby girl was born at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California, where McCollum had been formally stationed.

On Aug. 27, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon wrote on Twitter that he was “devastated” about the loss of McCollum, a Wyoming native.

Jillian Balow, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, released a statement surrounding the Jackson, Wyoming, native's death, reading in part, “We will find many ways to honor Rylee for this ultimate and untimely sacrifice in the coming months and years — but for now, my arms are wrapped around Rylee’s loved ones from afar and I pray they find some comfort.”

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