In Honor of a Compassionate Provider and a Selfless War Hero: LT Florence Choe

Today I received very sad news -- I lost a friend and fellow shipmate to enemy fire in Afghanistan.

I had the privilege to work with Flo at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Florence was a Medical Service Corps officer who was very giving, charismatic and someone who I deeply admired and respected.

Florence was taking an afternoon job on March 27 along a well-worn path on the outskirts of Forward Operating Base Shaheen in Afghanistan with a fellow Sailor, a Seabee, LTJG Francis "Frankie" Toner.

This is when an Afghan soldier turned insurgent raised his weapon and shot the two Sailors.

And Florence had given the greatest gift of her life.  In Bethesda, she worked with the Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) contingencies team helping returning casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan as they arrive in Andrews Air Force Base transfer to Bethesda.

In Afghanistan, Florence had volunteered for a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan, even though it meant a year away from her husband, a urology resident at Naval Medical Center San Diego, and their three-year old daughter.

Florence had given her time and service to the casualties and to our Freedom many times over.

I will never forget her sweet smile and compassionate heart.

My deepest condolences to Florence's family. Flo, you will be deeply missed. I will never forget you and the ultimate sacrifice you made to make this world a better place for all. 

I will never taken life for granted.  Neither will I take running for granted.  Even on a hot, sweltering summer afternoon or on a cold, blustery winter morning, being able to run in freedom and without the threat of being shot at is a gift.  

Especially on those long, hard runs -- I will remember and honor Florence's ultimate sacrifice.

Thank you your service Florence and God Bless you and your family.

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