Francis L. Toner IV
Lieutenant (jg), United States Navy
U.S. Department of Defense
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 199-09
DoD Identifies Navy Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two sailors who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lieutenant Florence B. Choe, 35, of El Cajon, California, and Lieutenant j.g. Francis L. Toner IV, 26, of Narragansett, Rhode Island, died March 27 when an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on personnel assigned to Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan at Camp Shaheen, Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan.
For more information media may contact the
U.S. Forces Afghanistan public affairs office at 011- 93-799-51-2919, or
email [email protected]
Navy Lieutenant (jg) Francis L. Toner IV loved people, his country and God. Stationed in northern Afghanistan, he always asked for shoes and clothes for the poorest Afghan children when he wrote or phoned home.
He taught them how to play softball, too, before an Afghan National Army soldier killed him and a fellow naval officer Friday.
The ANA soldier shot Toner and Navy nurse Lieutenant Florence B. Choe, 35, of El Cajon, California, killing them both, the Defense Department said. Toner, in Afghanistan for five months, worked as a garrison engineer at Camp Shaheen in Mazar-e-Sharif.
The 26-year-old Narragansett man had been scheduled to come home on leave this week. He had planned to rejoin his wife, Brooke, in Pocatello, Idaho, where she was staying with her relatives.
He dreamed of coming back to Rhode Island where he could work with his father, buying and selling rehabbed homes.
“He’ll be sorely missed,” his father, Frank, said yesterday.
Family members gathered at the Toner home in Anawan Cliffs to remember “Frankie.” They want to hold a funeral service at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, on Long Island, where Toner went to school. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Toner, a 2001 graduate of Westlake High School, in the Los Angeles suburb of Westlake Village, was a star running back for the school’s championship football team.
The rugged youth was named homecoming king his senior year. More than 2,000 girls voted for him, Sharon, his stepmother said.
He loved the beach, snowboarding and racing his BMX bike as a kid.
While he was still in high school, several football scouts from the Merchant Marine Academy spotted Toner walking into the coach’s office. “He had these huge calves,” said his father. “The academy coaches asked, ‘Who’s he?’ They invited us to dinner.”
Toner studied marine engineering and shipyard management and played football, lacrosse and ran track at the academy about 20 miles east of New York City. While there, he decided to join the Navy, and he fell in love with Brooke, a student from Idaho. The two married in San Diego at the LDS temple and held their reception on a ship in the San Diego harbor. Frank, Toner’s father, was best man.
When Toner graduated in 2006, President George W. Bush, at the graduation ceremony, shook his hand.
The Toners moved to Narragansett, to be near family in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey. Frankie called Rhode Island home while attending school in New York.
“We never fought,” said his sister, Amanda. “He never raised his voice. He was the perfect brother.”
He was also thoughtful.
In letters and phone calls, he always asked for things for the Afghan children. “He couldn’t believe the poverty,” said Sharon. “He’d see kids who weren’t in school, or who were improperly dressed, and his heart went out to them.”
In late December, he asked the officers at Camp Mike Spann to fly the American flag in honor of his little brother, John, who had just turned 9. Toner mailed the folded flag to John, along with a birthday greeting.
“I hope you enjoy and respect this flag that was flown in your honor over a country at war,” he wrote.
At the bottom of the greeting, he added a final thought. “Wish I could be there to give this to you. But I’ll be home before you know it and it will be like I never left.”
NAVFAC Hawaii CEC Officer Killed in Afghanistan
Release Date: 1 April 2009
By Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs
MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan (NNS) -- Lieutenant (j.g.) Francis L. Toner IV, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii, died March 27, 2009, when an Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier opened fire on personnel assigned to Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan (CSTC-A) at Camp Shaheen, in Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan.
Another Navy officer also died, Lieutenant Florence B. Choe, Medical Service Corps, and a third was wounded. The ANA soldier killed himself immediately after the incident.
At the time of the incident, Toner was halfway through a year long Individual Augmentation (IA) assignment at Camp Shaheen with the Afghan Regional Security Integration Command (ARSIC) North. He began training for the IA assignment in June 2008 and was expected to return October 2009.
"Toner was an exceptional young man and naval officer. He made a great difference while in Afghanistan just as he did while serving in Hawaii. Those he touched during his life will never forget his smile, sense of humor, competitive spirit, outstanding work ethic and love of country," said Captain Bret J. Muilenburg, NAVFAC Hawaii commanding officer.
Toner, 26, was born in Panorama City, California, and later moved to Narragansett, Rhode Island. He earned his Bachelor's of Science Degree in Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. Upon graduation, he was directly commissioned into the United States Navy.
After gaining experience on five vessels with the Merchant Marines, Toner attended, and graduated from, the Civil Engineer Corps Officers School, Class 236, in November 2006. Soon after he reported to his first duty assignment at NAVFAC Hawaii, he became the Officer in Charge of Self Help (a Seabees unit). His last assignment at the command prior to deploying to Afghanistan was as assistant Public Works officer for West Oahu.
Toner is survived by his wife, Brooke, parents and three siblings.
CSTC-A held a memorial service on Sunday morning, March 29, 2009, to honor Toner and his fallen colleague. NAVFAC Hawaii is planning a Pearl Harbor service later this week.
"Please keep Brooke and the family in your
thoughts and prayers," said NAVFAC Commander and Chief of Civil Engineers
Rear Admiral Greg Shear.
He was the person people always wanted to be around.
A standout football player and homecoming king, Francis L. Toner IV had a smile for everyone at Westlake High School in Westlake Village, California.
"The kid was pure goodness," said Christina Harrison, who taught him U.S. government in his senior year.
Toner, a Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade, and another Navy officer were shot and killed March 27, 2009, when an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire at Forward Operating Base Shaheen near Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan's Balkh province, which borders Uzbekistan. He was 26.
Navy Lieutenant Florence B. Choe, 35, of El Cajon, California, also died in the attack.
Toner had been in Afghanistan for five months
and was due home last Wednesday to visit his wife, Brooke, in Idaho.
Toner, who graduated from Westlake High in 2001, loved sports and was a running back for the school's championship football team. His former coach, James Benkert, remembered him as a star athlete, "very popular, always smiling and really the best our society has to offer."
Toner's prowess on the football field earned him a full scholarship to the Merchant Marine Academy. While there, he met his wife, who was working as a nanny and attending college.
When his old high school team came to play in Hawaii, Toner, who was stationed at Pearl Harbor, went to the game and chatted with his former teacher on the sidelines.
"He was so proud of what he was doing and so proud of serving his country," Harrison said.
His letters and e-mails from Afghanistan were brimming with excitement.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Toner's wish was to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his father and stepmother, Frank
and Sharon Toner; his mother, Rebecca Toner; two brothers, Michael and
John; and a sister, Amanda.
Frankie Toner, 26, grew up in Thousand Oaks, California, graduated from Westlake High School in 2001, where he was the homecoming king, and went to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Long Island, New York.
When he graduated from the academy in 2006, he joined the Civil Engineer Corps for the Navy. He'd been in Afghanistan for five months and was scheduled to come home on leave the following week.
"He would call home all the time, and we'd ask if he needed anything—Chapstick or other things—or we'd ask him if he was hot or cold. He'd say to send children's-size socks or coloring books—never anything for himself. He just thought about other people," she said. "He and his wife were of the Mormon faith. They were well-founded in faith."
He loved the Afghan people, his aunt said.
"He believed in the people and the process. He was there to help them. They killed the wrong guy," Moosekian said.
After promising she wasn't saying this because she was his godmother or had any other bias, Moosekian said Toner was the kind of young man mothers wish their sons could grow up and be like.
Toner was off duty jogging with some friends on base when an Afghan soldier began firing on two Navy nurses running ahead of him. Toner was behind the shooter. The former WHS state championship fullback ran up and tried to tackle him to prevent him from shooting his friends. That's when Toner was shot.
Toner will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Brooke; his father and stepmother, Frank and Sharon Toner; his mother, Rebecca Toner; his sister, Amanda, 24; and his brothers, Michael, 26, and John, 9.
A Facebook.com page titled "Never Forget Francis L. Toner IV" has been set up to honor him. A week after the memorial at Arlington, another memorial will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stake center on Erbes Road.
Lieutenant Toner will be buried with full military honors at 3:30 P.M. on 16 April 2009 at Arlington National Cemetery.
A Navy officer from Southern California who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009 was posthumously awarded the Silver Star in a ceremony Friday (26 September 2011) in Washington.
Brooke Toner, the widow of Navy Lt. (j.g.) Francis Toner, accepted the Silver Star from Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Toner, who was 26, was killed while he and other officers were running for exercise on March 27, 2009, at a base near Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. A Taliban fighter posing as an Afghan soldier shot the Americans point-blank.
While other officers lay wounded, Toner, who was unarmed, verbally challenged the gunman and moved directly toward him. He was fatally shot.
"He was basically walking straight into the enemy's fire," Mullen said. "We shouldn't -- and we won't -- ever, ever forgot that service, that sacrifice. Because that is what makes us strong, as a military and as a nation."
Toner faced death "tragically and heroically," Mullen said.
Toner was deployed to Afghanistan as an engineer assisting the Afghan army.
Born in Panorama City, he graduated in 2001 from Westlake High School, where he was a football star. He graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy before being commissioned in the Navy and attending civil engineers officer school at Port Hueneme.
In the attack that killed Toner, Navy Lieutenant Florence Choe of San Diego was also killed and a third officer was wounded. The gunman was killed.
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Francis L. Toner, IV, United States Navy, for gallantry in action as Garrison Engineer, Camp Mike Spann Embedded Training Team in Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 27 March 2009.
While Lieutenant Junior Grade Toner and three other Officers were conducting physical training around the perimeter of Camp Shaheen, they were attacked by an enemy who had infiltrated the Afghan National Army. In seconds, Officers were shot and lying wounded on the ground. The gunman proceeded to shoot one of the wounded officers.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Toner, unarmed, verbally challenged the insurgent and continued to advance until he was fatally wounded. Lieutenant Junior Grade Toner's actions distracted the attacker from shooting the second wounded, and allowed the fourth runner to seek reinforcements.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Toner's distinctive accomplishments are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Navy and the United States Army.
TONER, FRANCIS LAWRENCE IV
Posted: 7 Apri 2009 Updated: 28 June 2009 Updated: 24 October 2009 Updated: 30 April 2010 Updated: 8 July 2011 Updated: 3 December 2011
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 4 July 2011
2010 Rose Event Photo By M. R. Patterson
Photo Courtesy of Brooke Toner, October 2009