Nicole Gee was a California Marine who died in Afghanistan and was remembered as a “Marine’s Marine.” She was recently photographed cradling an infant in Kabul and helping refugees enter an airplane.
She was one of the 13 U.S. Marines and service members who were killed in the attack at the Kabul airport in Aghanistan. You can see a round up of tributes to each of the 13 here.
One of Gee’s most recent posts on Instagram showed her holding the small baby in Afghanistan and read, “I love my job🤘🏼.”
“She had a name. She was doing God’s work…..a warrior,” Capt. Karen Holliday said in a post on her personal Facebook page, according to Stars and Stripes. “Searching Afghan women and children trying to get out of country.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nicole’s Car Is Still ‘Parked in Our Lot,’ Her Friend Wrote in an Emotional Tribute
Gee’s friend Mallory Harrison wrote a moving tribute:
Her car is parked in our lot.
It’s so mundane. Simple. But it’s there.
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. 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.
Our generation of Marines has been listening to the Iraq/Afghan vets tell their war stories for years. It’s easy to feel distant when you’re listening to those conversations, it’s easy for that war & those stories to sound like something so distant—something that you feel like you’re never going to experience since you joined the Marine Corps during peacetime. The stories are powerful and moving. Motivating. You know it can happen. And you train to be ready if/when it does. You’re ready. Gung-Ho. You raise your hand for all of the deployments, you put in the work. But it’s hard to truly relate to those stories when most of the deployments nowadays involve a trip to Oki or a boring 6 months on ship.
Then bad people do bad things, and all of a sudden, the peaceful float you were on turns into you going to Afghanistan & for some, never coming back. It turns into your friends never coming home.
Her car is parked in our lot.
For a month now, it’s been parked in our little lot on Camp Lejeune at the Comm Shop where I work. I used it while my car was getting fixed & I just haven’t gotten around to bringing it back to our house. I drove it around the parking lot every once in a while to make sure it would be good for when she came home. So many Marines have walked past it, most of them the newer generations of Marines, our generation of Marines. The same Marines who often feel so distant from the war stories their bosses tell them about. I’m sure they thought nothing of it—just a car parked in a parking spot. Some of them knew her. Some of them didn’t. But they all saw her car. They all walked past it. The war stories, the losses, the flag-draped coffins, the KIA bracelets & the heartbreak. It’s not so distant anymore.
Her car is still there, & she’s gone forever.
I love the first photo. We climbed to the top of sugar cookie in 29 one Saturday morning a few years ago to pay our respects. I snapped the picture on my camera. I never would’ve thought her name would be on a cross like those one day. There’s no way to adequately prepare for that feeling. No PowerPoint training, no class from the chaps, nothing. Nothing can prepare you.
My best friend. 23 years old. Gone. I find peace knowing that she left this world doing what she loved. 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.
Til Valhalla, Sergeant Nicole Gee. I can’t wait to see you & your Momma up there. I love you forever & ever.
2. Gee Posted Several Pictures of Her Work in Afghanistan
On Instagram, Gee posted a series of photos showing her at work in Afghanistan. One picture showed her standing guard as evacuees stood in line to enter an airplane.
“📍HKIA, Afghanistan. Escorting evacuees onto the bird🤍,” she wrote with that picture.
Another photo showed her holding what she said was a promotion to sergeant. “📍Kuwait. Never would have imagined having my Sergeant promotion meritoriously in Kuwait☀️” she captioned that picture.
She also posted photos from Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Spain. Some photos showed her having fun with friends.
3. She Wrote of Military Service, ‘Mama I Made It & I Know You’d Be So Proud’
Gee posted a picture of herself in military uniform and wrote, “Mama I made it & I know you’d be so proud. Rest easy my sunshine, I miss you everyday👼🏼☀️.”
She married in 2016, writing the following year on Instagram, “just a mushy wedding post about how we officially decided on forever and always 1 year ago today😊❤️.” Her husband is also in the armed forces, according to photos she posted on Instagram.
“2016 was a year of love, happiness, & marriage for us💘💍 excited for our future together😋🙈,” she wrote on Instagram.
4. Gee Was From Roseville, California; She Was Only 23
Other tributes flowed on social media.
Another friend wrote on Facebook,
“I can’t believe it….You were such a badass Nicole and a good friend in highscool. I know you’re with your mom now. Looking back at all the incredible things you’ve accomplished… Thank you for your service friend, I just wish it didn’t end up like this. Sending my prayers to your loved ones. I’m so sorry this has happened.”
Placer County Deputies in Roseville, California, wrote, “Our hearts are broken. Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee has been identified as one of the fallen heroes who was killed during the recent Kabul terror attack. Nicole was from Roseville, and she was just 23 years old. No words can express our sorrow for the loss of Nicole, and her fellow brave service members. Their ultimate sacrifice should never be forgotten. They are eternal heroes, and shall be forever remembered as such. Rest in peace sister, semper fidelis. 🇺🇸.”
5. Gee Worked as a Maintenance Technician
According to Stars and Stripes, Gee was “a maintenance technician with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Camp Lejeune.”
In her social media post, Holliday called her a “model Marine,” the site reported.
She was a native of Sacramento, California, ABC reported.