Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Cherie Morton was, among other things, a bingo player. She played it regularly and, as colleague Millie Slamin recalled, seemed to always leave a game with either a cash or door prize.
"We used to tease her," Slamin said. "She was such a lucky person."
Slamin, the public affairs officer for the Naval Support Activity forces in Bahrain, said Morton's outgoing personality served her well in her job, where she helped hundreds of enlisted naval officers with career goals and guidance. "She was very well suited for it," Slamin said.
Morton, 40, was found dead April 20 at her off-base apartment in Galali Muharraq, Bahrain, where she served as a career counselor for the Naval Security Force stationed there. The cause of death is under investigation.
Morton, who was born and raised in Rockford, Ill., had served for several years in the Air Force before signing up for the Navy while she was living in Bakersfield. She had been in the Navy for 15 years at the time of her death, according to the Stars and Stripes newspaper.
After Morton's body was flown to Illinois, the Naval Support Activity held a memorial service for her in the room where she used to play bingo. The room was packed with as many chairs as could be set up, and more people were standing than sitting, Slamin said. "She was well-loved," Slamin said.
Morton is survived by her mother, Mary Hughes, and father, Richard Gary, both of Rockford, Ill.; and a teenage son, Brian Trevor of Los Angeles.
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Total U.S. deaths*:
In and around Iraq**: 4,080
In and around Afghanistan***: 432
Other locations***: 64
*Includes military and Department of Defense- employed civilian personnel killed in action and in nonhostile circumstances.
**As of Friday
***As of May 10
Source: Department of Defense