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Remembering a fallen daughter

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Filed: Country: Philippines

Florence Choe's family still aches from her March 2009 killing in Afghanistan. She was there as a hospital administrative specialist, not a warrior.


By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

Standing amid the rows and rows of graves at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, Francisca Bacong says she still cannot understand the nightmare that took the life of her only daughter, Navy Lt. Florence Choe.

As the nation today celebrates Memorial Day amid increasing American combat deaths in Afghanistan — 140 this year; more than 1,000 since the invasion in 2001 — Choe's death is proof anew of an immutable fact: War's cruelty is sometimes incomprehensible.

Choe, 35, a hospital administrative specialist, had gone to Afghanistan to help the Afghans establish a hospital for their military and civilians. She was devoted to her husband and young daughter in San Diego, but the call to duty was strong.

She and two other U.S. military personnel were jogging inside the perimeter of the base near Mazar-i-Sharif on March 27, 2009, when an insurgent posing as an Afghan soldier shot all three at point-blank range.

As Choe fell to the ground, the gunman stood over her and fired again. Choe and another Navy officer were killed, the third runner was seriously wounded but survived and the insurgent killed himself as armed U.S. guards came running.

"She went there to help the Afghan people," said Bacong, her voice trembling. "She had asked us to send clothes and chocolate and magazines for them, and we did. And then this happens."

Choe had insisted that she would be in no danger during the 12-month deployment: She was a noncombatant, working inside the security of a base.

She was born in San Diego — her parents had emigrated from the Philippines — and received a bachelor of science degree from UC San Diego in 1997 and a master's in public health with an emphasis on healthcare administration from San Diego State in 2001. She enlisted in the Navy two days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

After service in Navy hospitals in Okinawa, Japan; San Diego; and Bethesda, Md., she was excited about helping the Afghan government begin to provide decent medical care for its people.

"She kept telling us after she got there, 'Don't worry, Mom and Dad, I'm safe, I'm not doing the fighting,' " said her father, Rufino Bacong, 65, a retired Navy culinary specialist.

LA Times

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Brazil

war zones are always a risk, no matter where one is located.


* ~ * Charles * ~ *

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.



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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: Egypt

Such a shame. (F)

Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.


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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Benin

Thank you for posting this. It is important that we remember everyone who was serving the interests of our country.

AOS Timeline

4/14/10 - Packet received at Chicago Lockbox at 9:22 AM (Day 1)

4/24/10 - Received hardcopy NOAs (Day 10)

5/14/10 - Biometrics taken. (Day 31)

5/29/10 - Interview letter received 6/30 at 10:30 (Day 46)

6/30/10 - Interview: 10:30 (Day 77) APPROVED!!!

6/30/10 - EAD received in the mail

7/19/10 - GC in hand! (Day 96) .

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