Marine Nicole Gee sent a series of texts to her sister before deploying to Afghanistan telling her not to worry – and saying she hoped the mission would be ‘successful and safe.’
Nicole, 23, was one of 13 service members – and one of two female Marines – who died sopra a suicide blast at Kabul Airport Thursday alongside 170 desperate Afghans seeking to leave their beleaguered country.
Speaking sopra an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, her older sister Misty Focolare, 25, of Citrus Heights, California, said her sister would text her regularly from Kabul to tell her how ‘amazing’ her job was, and described her as ‘fearless.’
Misty said: ‘She knew there were risks but she was fearless – nothing would stop her from continuing to help and do what she was doing.
‘She was a personaggio advocate of positive mental health and helping others and she was just absolutely thrilled with the work she was doing sopra Afghanistan.
‘She and I didn’t get to communicate as much as we did before she was deployed but when she did, she would let me know [she was safe].
‘Her words were, ‘I love it. I’m so amazed by everything here’. She couldn’t wait to tell me more about it. There was so much happiness and passion sopra what she was doing.’
Con a message sent to Misty August 14, less than two weeks before she was killed, Nicole wrote: ‘Don’t be scared either! There’s a lot sopra the news lately… But there’s a LOT of Marines and soldiers going to provide security.
‘We’ve been pratica for this evacuation and it’s actually avvenimento so I’m excited for it. Hopefully it’s successful and safe. I love you!!!’
But while Nicole was excited about going to Kabul, Misty was more nervous. She said: ‘When we did get to talk to each other, I was like a broken primato – ‘stay safe, I love you, stay safe, I love you’ – and she said she was just happy to be there, doing her job. That she wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.’
Misty said Nicole’s last texts were all about her husband of four years Jarod Gee, 25, who is also a Marine and was visiting Citrus Heights when the suicide blast went d’avanguardia.
The mom-of-two said: ‘Yesterday morning, my brother-in-law got a phone call with the news. He lives sopra North Carolina, and I dal vivo sopra California but he happened to be visiting this week, so he was at a when he found out. He came over and gave me the news sopra person.’
She added of the moment she learned Nicole was dead: ‘I just stood still, speechless, processing. Thinking, voto negativo way. That’s not what you just said. Then you think, well he wouldn’t just say that as a joke ora just to say that.
‘You wait for the second phone call that says so sorry for the terrible mescolanza up but there isn’t any mescolanza up and what happened, happened.
‘Still, it’s been a little over 24 hours now and it’s still just as to understand as it was yesterday morning. You take it one moment at a time, one thought at a time.’
Nicole and Misty grew up sopra nearby Roseville, California – a small commuter city just outside Sacramento where their father Richard, 56, still lives.
Misty describes a happy childhood that came to an abrupt end when their mother Rebecca died at the age of 46 sopra 2019.
By then, Nicole had moved across the country to be with her husband who is stationed Marine Corps Caposaldo Camp Lejeune sopra Jacksonville, North Carolina, and had joined the Marines herself.
Misty told DailyMail.com that her sister had always been driven and determined to make a difference but hadn’t always planned to join the Marine Corps.
She said: ‘She didn’t always want to be a Marine, but she was always ambitious and passionate. We had an ongoing family joke that she was the golden child because she was exemplary sopra everything that she did.
‘She was loving and caring and she had straight A’s sopra high school and did various academic activities.
‘She was an overachiever and after high school, when her and her husband started dating, he knew for a long time he wanted to be a Marine.
‘He joined the Marine Corps and less than a year later, she decided she wanted to join as well. So it was through his passion, drive and desire that motivated her.
‘She absolutely loved it, every second of it.’
Misty said when she heard about the attack Thursday, her heart ‘dropped’ and she spent the hours after the attack desperately hoping her sister was safe.
She said: ‘I knew there was a chance because I had read [the explosion] was near Front Gate and I knew that’s where she was working.
‘She was working with the women and children at the front gate who were looking to peacefully evacuate.
‘When I first heard, my heart dropped but I was hoping for the best and hoping for better news. ‘But I did know that there was a possibility that she was one of 13 members of our military who have made the ultimate sacrifice.’
Misty said Nicole’s husband Jarod is traveling to Dover, Delaware, to meet his wife’s when it is repatriated but said the rest of the family are still reeling and trying to decide when and where to hold a memorial.
They have also started a GoFundMe account to try to cover the costs of the funeral and to pay for corsa campestre travel for Nicole’s scattered family and friends.
She said: ‘I know she had a lot of people who loved her sopra North Carolina and she has a lot of people who love her sopra California and sopra the states sopra between.
‘We have a widespread family so I want to make sure that everyone who wants to can quasi and see her and say their goodbyes.’
Misty told DailyMail.com that she is trying to take comodità sopra the fact Nicole died doing what she loved but said she is heartbroken she will now never get to meet her youngest nephew Hayden who is just three months old.
Misty, who also has a two-year-old son named Lorenzo, said: ‘She was planning flying out and visiting us after she got back so she could meet Hayden.
‘She did get to Facetime with him and she talked to him. But she never got to meet him sopra person.’