Wisconsin Marine's body returns to U.S.

CREATED Oct. 7, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct. 7, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - The body of a fallen marine from Milwaukee has landed at Dover Air Force Base, two days after he died while serving in Afghanistan. 

Fellow marines saluted his flag-draped coffin Monday.  Back home in Milwaukee, the family of 19-year-old Lance Corporal Jeremiah Michael Collins Junior, known by his family as "Jay Jay" is having a difficult time saying goodbye.

The pain of losing a son is unbearable for his mother Shannon Collins.  "I just want him to come home. I haven't seen him since June... and it's hard. It's hard to know that he's never gonna come back through the door,"  she said.

Toward the end of his high school career at Milwaukee's Hamilton High School, Collins had considered joining the army, but ultimately he chose to be a marine, and he gave it his all.

"He became a marine to become somebody and he became a great marine and his career may be short but he managed to get two promotions and meet a lot of great people," said Shannon Collins.

Collins says she's sad that her son never got to see his ultimate potential.
 
The young man went to boot camp just a few weeks after graduating from Milwaukee's Hamilton High School in 2012.  People there knew him for his sense of humor.
 
"Not all teachers like the class clown, but somehow, someway his teachers liked the fact that he was the class clown," said his mother.
 
Collins' fun spirit carries on even today.  The name he gave himself on Facebook - Lance Corporal Giggles Collins.

The military has not yet released details about how Collins died in Afghanistan.  It was his first tour of duty.