Just days earlier she was killed successful a termination weaponry onslaught extracurricular the Kabul airdrome successful Afghanistan, Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee utilized a photograph of her cradling an Afghan babe successful her arms to present a elemental message: "I emotion my job."
Gee's father, Richard Herrera, reflected connected his daughter's sacrifice connected TODAY Monday aft she was one of 13 U.S. troops killed successful an attack on Aug. 26, conscionable 5 days earlier the U.S. government's deadline for afloat withdrawing from Afghanistan.
"She's my hero," Herrera told Erin McLaughlin from the family's location successful Roseville, California. "She's a warrior."
The work members were guarding Hamid Karzai International Airport arsenic thousands of Americans and Afghans evacuated aft the authorities takeover by the Taliban.
Gee shared the touching photograph of herself holding the babe on Instagram on Aug. 20 with the caption of "I emotion my job."
Herrera archetypal saw the photograph connected tv earlier the bombing and had swelled with pridefulness arsenic helium shared it with household and friends. Less than a week later, his girl was gone. She was 23 years old.
"It broke maine for a while, and it's similar a question now," helium said. "The emotions are up and down. It's deed maine hard."
Gee was 1 of 2 pistillate Marines killed successful the attack, on with Sgt. Johanny Rosario from Massachusetts. Gee's bully person and roommate, Sgt. Mallory Harrison, remembered her "other half" successful a Facebook post on Aug. 27.
"I can’t rather picture the feeling I get erstwhile I unit myself to travel backmost to world & deliberation astir however I’m ne'er going to spot her again," Harrison wrote. "How her past enactment was taken doing what she loved—helping people—at HKIA successful Afghanistan. Then determination was an explosion. And conscionable similar that, she’s gone.
"My champion friend. 23 years old. Gone," she continued. "I find bid knowing that she near this satellite doing what she loved. She was a Marine’s Marine. She cared astir people. She loved fiercely. She was a airy successful this acheronian world. She was my person."
Another 1 of her chap Marines, Michael Black, shared different touching photograph of Gee holding an Afghan babe successful a remembrance of her on Facebook.
"This pic says it each of the HEART she had!" helium wrote.
Towns crossed America person honored the 13 work members who were killed, from Massachusetts to Missouri to California. Many of those who died were successful their aboriginal 20s, hardly calved astatine the clip of the 9/11 attacks that led to the 20-year warfare successful Afghanistan.
Their deaths are being mourned arsenic President Joe Biden warns astir further attacks with the deadline for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan looming connected Tuesday. Biden and archetypal woman Jill Biden attended an event on Sunday to grant the 13 who were killed arsenic their remains returned to the U.S. and conscionable with their families.
This communicative archetypal appeared connected TODAY.com. More from TODAY: