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Bodies of Colorado men killed fighting ISIS in Syria return home

Men fought with the Kurdish against Islamic State
Posted at 6:45 AM, Sep 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-16 14:00:05-04

DENVER -- It has been more than a month since two Colorado men were killed while fighting the Islamic State in Syria, and after weeks of agonizing and waiting by their families, these brave men are finally home -- bringing some sense of closure to both families. 

The bodies of Levi "Jack" Shirley, from Arvada, and Jordan MacTaggart, from Castle rock, arrived via train in Denver Friday morning at Union Station.

"I've wanted this day so bad, but the last thing I wanted to see was my son come off that train," Shirley's father, Russell, said. 

Shirley was killed on July 14. Less than a month later, on Aug. 3, MacTaggart died in combat. Both fought alongside the Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units (YPG). 

"He was just concerned. More than anything. Not about himself but the situation overseas," MacTaggart's mother, Melissa, told Denver7. 

The men were part of a small group of Americans who decided to become foreign fighters. Approximately 150 to 200 U.S. citizens have traveled to Syria to join the fight against the Islamic State, according to the British investigative journalism site Bellingcat

Both families have become close during this difficult time. Shirley's sister and mother reached out to the MacTaggart family after Jordan's death.

"I just thought, 'How can another family so close to us have the same situation?' and we were just stunned," said Melissa.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, whose office has worked to get Shirley and MacTaggart’s bodies back to the U.S., presented two American flags flown over the U.S. Capitol to their families.

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