Marine killed in Kabul attack described as a ‘light in this dark world’ | CNN (2024)


“There was an explosion. And just like that, she’s gone.”

Friends and family of Nicole L. Gee say the 23-year-old Marine killed at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, last week died doing what she loved – helping people.

Gee was one of 13 US service members killed in a terrorist attack outside Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday that left more than 170 other people dead. At least 20 US Marines were among the hundreds of people wounded.

Just six days earlier, Gee had posted a photo on Instagram, which was also posted on the Department of Defense’s social media pages, showing her holding an Afghan infant. Gee captioned the photo, “I love my job.”

The Marine Corps sergeant from Sacramento, California, posted another photo from the airport that week showing her in front of a plane beside a long line of people, captioned, “Escorting evacuees onto the bird.”

Gee’s sister Misty Fuoco Herrera told CNN her sibling was a proud Marine who was incredibly passionate and motivated.

“She was my best friend, my first friend, my motivation and inspiration, the light of my life. I will miss her terribly, as will her many family members and friends,” she said.

On a GoFundMe page raising money for family and friends to travel to Gee’s funeral, Fuoco said her family was devastated by Gee’s death but that her sister had been committed to her work.

“She gave the ultimate sacrifice. We will forever be changed and forever hurt with her absences but I know she wouldn’t have had it any other way, she absolutely loved the work she was doing in Afghanistan and was excited to tell me more about it once she was back home.”

Fuoco said Gee was married to Jarod Gee, another Marine.

“They had a bond like nothing I’ve ever seen and I’m so devastated that he has lost the love of his life. She was everything to Jarod, the bright sun to his life,” she wrote.

Fuoco said that family had been Gee’s priority and that she visited them whenever she could take leave.

“My 2-year old son would ask to FaceTime his ‘TT Coley’ often and it’s hard to wrap my head around the having to explain why we aren’t able to call her anymore.”

Marine killed in Kabul attack described as a ‘light in this dark world’ | CNN (2)

In this image posted to her Instagram account three weeks ago, Gee wrote, "Never would have imagined having my Sergeant promotion meritoriously in Kuwait."

Gee’s friend Mallory Harrison posted a powerful tribute on Facebook on Friday, calling Gee “my very best friend, my person, my sister forever. My other half.”

“We were boots together, Corporals together, & then Sergeants together. Roommates for over 3 years now, from the barracks at MOS school to our house here. We’ve been attached at the hip from the beginning,” Harrison wrote. “I can’t quite describe the feeling I get when I force myself to come back to reality & think about how I’m never going to see her again. How her last breath was taken doing what she loved – helping people – at HKIA in Afghanistan. Then there was an explosion. And just like that, she’s gone.”

U.S. Marine Daegan Page, US Navy corpsman Maxton Soviak and US Marine Rylee McCollum were killed in Thursday's Kabul bombing. Related article A soon-to-be father, a beloved brother and a state champion among US service members killed in Kabul attack

Harrison went on to explain that Gee’s car has been parked in the lot near the shop where Harrison works, and that she used it while she was getting her own car fixed.

“I drove it around the parking lot every once in a while to make sure it would be good for when she came home,” Harrison wrote. “Her car is still there, & she’s gone forever.”

“My best friend. 23 years old. Gone. I find peace knowing that she left this world doing what she loved,” Gee’s friend added in the post. “She was a Marine’s Marine. She cared about people. She loved fiercely. She was a light in this dark world. She was my person.”

Smoke rises from explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, August 26, 2021. Wali Sabawoon/AP Related article The latest on the Kabul airport attack

On Facebook, the city of Roseville described Gee as a “hometown hero.”

In a post, the city said Gee enlisted in the Marines a year after her 2016 graduation from Oakmont High School. Her husband had also graduated from Oakmont, it said.

The Roseville school district posted a message from Oakmont Principal Isabel Govea to the social media site.

“Nicole has been described as a ‘model Marine’ who loved her job. While she was at Oakmont, she played on the softball team and remained in contact with several of her former teachers. Her death hits our school community, our city, and our nation at an especially challenging time.

“Nicole is a hometown hero. Her life and service to our country will never be forgotten,” Govea wrote.

Marine killed in Kabul attack described as a ‘light in this dark world’ | CNN (2024)


Marine killed in Kabul attack described as a ‘light in this dark world’ | CNN? ›

Nicole Gee, Marine killed in Kabul attack, described as a 'light in this dark world' “There was an explosion. And just like that, she's gone.”

How many marines died at Abbey Gate? ›

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement on Tuesday that the Defense Department is “forever grateful” for the service and sacrifice of the 13 service members killed in the “tragic bombing at Abbey Gate.”

Who was the father of the Marines killed at the Abbey Gate? ›

USCP identified the man as 51-year-old Steven K. Nikoui. Nikoui's son, Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, was killed when a terrorist set off a suicide bomb outside the airport gates in Kabul, according to a news release from Florida Rep.

Who were the Marine victims in Kabul? ›

The other victims include Marines and Navy service members

Hoover, Lopez, Page, Sanchez, Schmitz, Espinoza, McCollum, Merola, and Nikoui were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

Who paid for the Nicole Gee funeral? ›

But shortly thereafter, Gee's remains were moved again to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for final burial. Costs of a private flight for her casket and remains were covered by Honoring Our Fallen, a nonprofit group which provides support to military families.

Where is Nicole Gee buried? ›

Gee was laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on September 29, 2021. Her husband, Jarod Gee, received the U.S. flag from her service.

What was the bloodiest day in Marine Corps history? ›

The Battle of Iwo Jima didn't end until May 26, 1945, and it was the bloodiest in Marine Corps history.

What Marines died recently? ›

Sgt. Colin Arslanbas died April 18 during a late-night training exercise near Camp Lejeune, N.C. Arslanbas, 23, was assigned to the Maritime Special Purpose Force with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Two other Marines have died during training at Pendleton in recent months. In December, Sgt.

How many US Marines have died in combat? ›

Marine Corps Casualties: 1775-2015
World War II19,73368,207
Korean War4,26723,744
Dominican Republic (1965)925
Vietnam War13,09188,594
24 more rows

What does Abby Gate mean? ›

Abbey Gate, one of the gates of Kabul International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. A reference to the scene of a terrorist attack on August 26, 2021.

What marine unit was at Abbey Gate? ›

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, with 1/8 attached, and Central Command's Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines attached, were called in for support as the situation deteriorated.

What happened at Abbey Gate? ›

A supplemental review of the original investigation into the 2021 suicide bombing attack that killed 13 U.S. service members and roughly 170 Afghan civilians at Hamid Karzai International Airport's Abbey Gate has reaffirmed the military's findings of the initial investigation and identifies the attacker.

Who was the female Marine killed at Kabul airport? ›

“There was an explosion. And just like that, she's gone.” Friends and family of Nicole L. Gee say the 23-year-old Marine killed at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, last week died doing what she loved – helping people.

How many Marines died in Kabul? ›

In addition to the 11 fallen service members from the Marine Corps, Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, from Berlin Heights, Ohio, and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, from Corryton, Tennessee, were killed in the attack, as well.

What Marine unit went to Kabul? ›

The Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response unit, to which 2/1 was attached, was dispatched to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as tens of thousands of Afghans rushed to escape the country. Units from the Army and Air Force were also sent to the airport during the frenzied withdrawal.

Who was Nicole Gee married to? ›

Her goals came into focus when she met and married her husband, Jarod Gee, whom Juels described as the love of Gee's life.

Who is the mother in law of Nicole Gee? ›

Christy Shamblin, Gee's mother-in-law, told Tuesday that she only wanted to bring attention to a frustrating 47-page policy when she spoke to Mills' staff during the meeting with Abbey Gate victims, and to make it easier for other Gold Star families to navigate the bureaucratic and tragic process of ...

Who is Kareem Nikoui? ›

While serving at the Kabul airport's Abbey Gate, Lance Corporal Nikoui was one of 13 American servicemembers killed when an ISIS-K terrorist detonated a suicide bomb.

Where did Nicole Gee live? ›

Gee grew up in Roseville and graduated from Oakmont High School in 2016. Misty Fuoco, Gee's older sister, said she was her best friend and her memory will live on.

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