Fallen marine’s baby born a month after he was killed by suicide blast in Afghanistan

·2 min read
Jiennah Crayton and US marine Rylee McCollum, who was killed last month in Kabul (Jiennah Crayton/Facebook)
Jiennah Crayton and US marine Rylee McCollum, who was killed last month in Kabul (Jiennah Crayton/Facebook)

The baby of a US marine who was killed in a suicide blast in Kabul last month has been born, almost a month after his father lost his life during the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Rylee McCollum, of Jackson, Wymong, was among 13 people killed in the 26 August suicide bombing, leaving behind his wife, Jiennah Crayton, who was expecting the couple’s first child. According to her mother, Jill Crayton, she was 36 weeks pregnant.

On Monday, Ms Crayton gave birth at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, South Carolina, and shared an image of the infant on Facebook.

The baby girl, who weighed 8lbs 10 oz, has been named Levi Rylee Rose, in memory of McCollum.

Ms Crayton’s mother wrote on Facebook late on Monday that Levi “came roaring into this world and graced us all with her presence at 2:18 am this morning”, and that “she can already do no wrong ever in my eyes”.

Ms Crayton also received congratulations from friends and family, and the Military Birth Resource Network, which offered “Congratulations to the McCollum family and the late Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum”.

McCollum, who was born on 11 September 2001 – the day of the terror attacks that sent the US to war in Afghanistan 20 years ago – was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, according to Task & Purpose, a military news website.

The unit were sent to assist in the evacuation of Afghans and Americans from Kabul following the return of the Taliban a month after US forces fully withdrew from a 20-year so-called “forever war”.

When a suicide bomber detonated an explosive at the Abbey Gate of Kabul’s airport on 26 August, McCollum was among 13 people killed, including eight US service members. Hundreds of Afghans were also injured in the blast.

Ms Crayton wrote after that attack that she had “lost her “best friend” and “nothing will ever make that hurt less”. She also said her husband “would’ve been the best dad,” and “[I] wish he could see how much of an impact he made on this world.”

A GoFundMe page set up by her mother has so far raised over $230,000 (£167,000) for Ms Crayton and Levi.

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