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Trainers killed by Afghan soldier identified

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 30, 2009

The U.S. military has identified two trainers killed Friday by an Afghan National Army soldier.

Lt. Florence B. Choe, 35, of El Cajon, Calif., and Lt. j.g. Francis L. Toner IV, 26, of Narragansett, R.I., died Friday when the insurgent opened fire on personnel assigned to Combined Security Transition Command — Afghanistan at Camp Shaheen in Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan.

The gunmen then shot and killed himself, officials said late Friday.

Few other details have been released about the incident, which highlights the continued dangers faced by military and civilian personnel assigned to train Afghan forces.

Boosting that training is a centerpiece of the Afghan war strategy that was announced by President Barack Obama on Friday.

According to hometown news reports, members of Choe’s family had gathered at her home, but declined to comment on the incident.

Toner also had ties to California. He was a graduate of Westlake High School near Los Angeles and was a football star at the Merchant Marine Academy.

According to family members quoted by local media, Toner had been due to arrive home on leave next week.

"He was coming home to be with his wife, and he was really looking forward to that," Toner’s aunt, Linda Moosekian, told KABC television. "So now he’s coming home on a different day, and will never have to go back."

Officials said Choe had been assigned to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Toner was assigned to Naval Facilities Command in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Navy officials say the service has had 28 fatalities in Afghanistan since 2002. The Navy has 2,606 personnel in Afghanistan, including 50 at Mazar-e-Sharif.


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