You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Marine special operators killed in apparent insider attack

May. 6, 2013 - 09:52PM   |  
Cpl. David Sonka
Cpl. David Sonka (U.S. Marine Corps)
  • Filed Under
Staff Sgt. Eric D. Christian (U.S. Marine Corps)

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.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

From Our Blogs


The latest from PT365

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook