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Marine Pictured Cradling Baby at Airport Among Victims

Details of Nicole Gee and other American victims have emerged
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 29, 2021 5:45 AM CDT
Marine Pictured Cradling Baby at Airport Among Victims
Sgt. Nicole Gee holding a baby at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul   (U.S. Department of Defense via AP)

(Newser) – A woman who cradled a baby in her arms at the airport and posted on social media that she loved her job. A young husband with a child on the way. Another man who always wanted to be in the military. A man who planned to become a sheriff’s deputy when his deployment ended. Details have emerged about more of the 13 US troops killed in a horrific suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport, which also claimed the lives of more than 160 Afghans. Per the AP, 11 Marines, one Navy sailor and one Army soldier were among the dead, while 18 other US service members were wounded in Thursday's bombing, which was blamed on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group. The US said it was the most lethal day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011.

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  • Nicole Gee, 23: A week before she was killed, the Marine sergeant cradled a baby in her arms at the Kabul airport. She posted the photo on Instagram and wrote, “I love my job.” The Sacramento, California woman a maintenance technician with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Sgt. Mallory Harrison, who lived with Gee for three years, wrote about how hard the death hit her. “Her last breath was taken doing what she loved—helping people...Then there was an explosion. And just like that, she’s gone.”
  • Maxton Soviak, 22: The flag in front of the Ohio home where Navy Hospital Corpsman's parents live was at half-staff as a steady stream of friends, coaches, teachers and family stopped by to offer condolences. was remembered as a friendly, well-liked guy who amused others and had been a member of the state champion wrestling team and made the final four football playoffs two years in a row. He had 12 brothers and sisters.

  • Humberto Sanchez, 22: Among 17 members of his Indiana high school to join the military after graduation, Sanchez's principal at Logansport High called him "a bright, athletic young man who was popular, well-liked by his soccer teammates, classmates, coaches and teachers...He was honored to be putting on the Marine uniform and serving his country.”
  • Dylan Merola, 20: In his last message home, the lance corporal told his mother he wouldn't be able to speak to her for a while because he was being moved to a new location in Afghanistan. I love you and I’ll talk to you as soon as I get home,” were his final words, Cheryl Merola told KCAL-TV. Merola, from Rancho Cucamonga, California, had only been in the country less than two weeks when he was killed. He planned to study engineering in college after his military service.

  • Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25: The sergeant was being mourned in the Massachusetts mill town of Lawrence she called home, the state's capital and her birthplace in the Dominican Republic. “We will not allow her to be forgotten,” said Jaime Melendez, director of veterans services in Lawrence. Rosario served with the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Sonia Guzmán, the Dominican Republic’s ambassador to the US, tweeted that the Caribbean nation shares in the loss. “Peace to your soul!” she tweeted in Spanish.
(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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