Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Eric D Christian

Warwick, New York

May 4, 2013

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
39 Marine SSG

2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

 Killed while conducting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan.

From New Jersey News 12 news12.com 05/06/13:

Ramsey H.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Christian killed in Afghanistan Saturday
Originally published: May 6, 2013 10:02 PM
Updated: May 7, 2013 6:55 PM
RAMSEY - A Ramsey High School graduate killed in Afghanistan is being remembered by family and friends.
Staff Sgt. Eric Christian, who served his country as a member of the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, died on Saturday in Farah Province when an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on U.S. troops.
Christian, 39, was a star on Ramsey's football team and an avid musician. He graduated in 1993 and joined the Marines in 2004. This was his fifth tour of duty.

Classmate Ken Schmarge says the death is a loss to the community. He says Christian got along with everyone. "He fit in with lots of different groups. It could be the artistic people, the athletes,” Schmarge says. "He was friends with all of them."
Christian will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Cpl. David M. Sonka, 23, of Parker, Colo. was killed during the same attack.

Marine special operators killed in apparent insider attack

By Dan Lamothe/Marine Times

Two members of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command died Saturday in an apparent insider attack by a soldier with the Afghan National Army.

Staff Sgt. Eric Christian, 39, and Cpl. David Sonka, 23, were killed while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Farah province, the Defense Department said in a news release Monday. Both men were assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Marine officials declined to say how Christian and Sonka died, but the International Security Assistance Force said Saturday that two service members were killed when an Afghan soldier turned his weapon against them. The incident remains under investigation, Marine officials said.

Christian, of Warwick, N.Y., was a counterintelligence/human intelligence specialist, according to a biography released by MARSOC. He joined the command last May, and had been in the Corps since May 2004.

Sonka, of Parker, Colo., was a multi-purpose canine handler. He joined the Corps in August 2008, and moved into MARSOC last year.

The incident marks the second and third death of a Marine in Afghanistan in 2013. The first was Staff Sgt. Jonathan Davis, 34, who died in an improvised explosive device attack in Helmand province on Feb. 22. He was serving as an adviser to soldiers from the Republic of Georgia.

Coalition forces adopted a series of precautionary measures to combat insider attacks last year after a rash of them rattled nerves and eroded trust between coalition forces and the Afghan troops they are training. In total, at least 61 coalition service members were killed in insider attacks in 2012.

The number of deaths resulting from insider attacks in 2013 — three — has been relatively low, but the Taliban threatened recently to step them up as the annual fighting season in Afghanistan takes shape.

MARSOC, the Corps’ special operations force, lost at least five personnel to insider attacks in 2012. Two Marines died Aug. 17 after an Afghan police officer opened fire on them in Farah province. Three MARSOC personnel were killed in Helmand province’s Sangin district on Aug. 10 after a member of the Afghan Local Police opened fire in an operations center.

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