David M Sonka
May 4, 2013
Killed while conducting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan.
|From The Denver Post denverpost.com 05/06/13:
Parker Marine killed in action in Afghanistan, dog tried to save him
By Ryan Parker The Denver Post
POSTED: 05/06/2013 05:10:45 PM
A 23-year-old Marine from Parker — and the Military Working Dog that was trying to save him — were killed during a combat operation in Afghanistan's Farah province Saturday, Major Jeff Landis of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command told The Denver Post on Monday.
Cpl. David Sonka and his dog, Flex, were killed during an alleged insider attack, the Marine Corps Times reported Monday.
Staff Sgt. Eric Christian, 39, of Warwick, N.Y., also was killed, Landis said.
The two Marines were assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Landis said.
Their deaths remain under investigation.
Sonka is the second Colorado serviceman killed in two days. Air Force Capt. Mark T. Voss of Colorado Springs was among three killed when a refueling tanker crashed Friday in Kyrgyzstan.
Sonka was born in Aurora. He joined the Marines in August 2008 and graduated from recruit training in November 2008, Landis said.
During his service, Sonka received numerous personal decorations, including a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and a Combat Action Ribbon, Landis said.
Sonka attended military police school, and, once finished, began courses to become a Military Working Dog handler, officials said.
Assigned to the III Marine Expeditionary Force K9 Section of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California from July 2009 to March 2012, Sonka was deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom, Landis said.
Sonka was then assigned to Marine Special Operations Combat Support Battalion, Marine Special Operations Support Group at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he completed special operations and canine course training.
From there, Sonka attached to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion as a Multi-Purpose Canine Handler.
Calls to the Sonka family were not returned.
|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.
|Flags at half-staff in Colo. for fallen Marine
The Associated Press
DENVER — Flags are flying at half-staff across Colorado in honor of a Marine killed earlier this month in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon says that 23-year-old Cpl. David Sonka of Parker and another Marine were killed May 4 during combat operations. The circumstances of the deaths are still being investigated.
Sonka's funeral is scheduled for Thursday morning in Littleton. Interment will follow at Fort Logan National Cemetery.
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