Man with Albert Lea tie killed in war

Published 4:30 pm Saturday, May 11, 2013

Marine Cpl. David Sonka

Marine Cpl. David Sonka

The grandson of an Albert Lea woman was killed during a combat operation in Afghanistan’s Farah province earlier this month.

Cpl. David Sonka, a 23-year-old Marine from Parker, Colo., and his military working dog, Flex, were reportedly killed during an alleged insider attack May 4, according to The Denver Post.

David is the grandson of Elaine and the late Bob Sonka and was reportedly serving in his second tour to Afghanistan.

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“We’re in shock; that’s all I can say,” said Elaine on Friday by phone from Colorado. “He just wanted to serve his country, and that was his goal. He was very, very smart and could have done anything, but this is what he chose.”

Staff Sgt. Eric Christian, 39, of Warwick, N.Y., also was killed, the Post said.

The two Marines were assigned to the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Their deaths remain under investigation.

The Denver Post said David was born in Aurora, Colo., and joined the Marines in August 2008, graduating from recruitment training in November 2008.

During his service, he received numerous personal decorations, including a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and a Combat Action Ribbon, according to the newspaper. He attended military police school, and, once finished, began courses to become a military working dog handler.

He was 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 and served as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the Post. He was then assigned to the Marine Special Operations Combat Support Battalion, Marine Special Operations Support Group at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he completed his special operations and canine course training. From there, he attached to the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion as a multi-purpose canine handler.

Elaine said she received a phone call about his death at about 10 p.m. May 4. The next day she left to drive out to Colorado.

She said David’s final funeral arrangements have not yet been made; however, Flex will be buried with him. They will receive a full military funeral.