On Saturday, officials identified 13 US service members who lost their lives in an ISIS-K attack outside of Kabul's airport. One among them was Marine Corps Sergeant Nicole L. Gee who had been cradling Afghan children before they were evacuated from Afghanistan.
On August 21, Gee took to Instagram with a photo of herself holding an Afghan child. "I love my job," the 23-year-old wrote.
US service members were at the Kabul airport to help evacuate tens of thousands of people left vulnerable after the Taliban took over the country. As per her Instagram account, she was promoted to sergeant only three weeks before the Kabul attack, having been sworn in less than a year ago.
Her friend, Mallory Harrison, penned an emotional tribute to her friend. Soon after posting it, the message went viral on the internet.
"Her car is parked in our lot. It's so mundane. Simple. But it's there. ... There was an explosion. And just like that, she's gone. ... Her car is still there and she's gone forever," Harrison wrote.
Harrison said she and Gee became sergeants together and that they were each other’s roommate for the past three years.
We've been attached at the hip from the beginning," she said. "I can't quite describe the feeling I get when I force myself to come back to reality and 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."
Nicole Gee was married to a fellow Marine, Jarod Gee. Her Instagram feed is full of her photos with her husband as he celebrates his own promotion to sergeant just a few months ago.
"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. They are both Marines and have dedicated themselves to serving this country," Nicole’s sister Fuoco wrote on a GoFundMe page. "She gave the ultimate sacrifice."
Thursday's bombing killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans. 11 out of 13 killed were Marines, with all but one under the age of 30.