Female U.S. marine, 23, who comforted baby, 1 of 13 troops killed in Afghanistan airport suicide bombing

She loved her job, she wrote on Instagram, before she was killed.

Belmont Lay | September 03, 2021, 04:03 AM

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Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee shared with her family a photo of her cradling a baby in dusty body armor while also carrying a rifle in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

The photo shot at the airport, which was a hotbed of activity the past week owing to the panic evacuation of Afghans following the return of the Taliban, was also one of the last shots taken of Gee.

In a short message posted with the photo put up on Instagram, the sergeant wrote: “I love my job🤘🏼”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nicole Gee (@nicole_gee__)

That much was evident as the soldier deployed to Afghanistan was making the effort to comfort the local families who made it through.

Killed in duty

As the situation on the ground took a turn for the worse subsequently, Sergeant Gee was to never make it home to her own family.

She was one of the 13 U.S. troops killed when a suicide bomb ripped through the crowds at the Kabul airport gate on Thursday, Aug. 26.

More than 160 Afghans were killed in total.

The Defense Department on Aug. 28 officially identified the service members who lost their lives.

Gee, 23, was one of two women in uniform killed at the gate.

The other was Marine Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25.

Johanny Rosario Pichardo

Women in combat shows U.S. military evolving

The two female sergeants volunteered for a job searching other women and children as they passed through the gates.

The female soldiers' involvement in operations on the ground was crucial in culturally conservative Afghanistan.

Their demise has also highlighted an evolving U.S. military.

For most of military history, women were not allowed in combat.

Those who did get admitted to the Marines largely did clerical work, The New York Times reported.

Their roles evolved, as the conflict in Afghanistan extended into its second decade.

Women Marines were not assigned to gate duty in 2001, at the start of the war in Afghanistan.

But never is never really never.

Went to serve because husband did

Gee herself never thought she would one day join the military.

But when her high school sweetheart, Jarod Gee, enlisted in the Marines, she decided to follow suit and they soon married.

Merely tagging along she did not.

Gee graduated from her corporal school at the top and was meritoriously promoted ahead of peers to sergeant in Kuwait.

She then landed in Afghanistan not long after.

Tribute for fallen soldier

Friends and family paid tribute to Gee.

They remember her as vivacious, confident, bright, and strong -- this last attribute backed by stats.

Gee held a base record in her weight class for dead lifting 280 pounds (127kg).

A fellow sergeant, Mallory Harrison, who lived with Gee for three years, wrote about how hard the death hit her.

“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,” Harrison wrote on Facebook.

“How her last breath was taken doing what she loved — helping people. … Then there was an explosion. And just like that, she’s gone.”

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Top photos via Defense Department & Nicole Gee Instagram