Navy Corpsman from Ohio killed in Afghanistan attack
BERLIN HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) —
Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, of Ohio, was one of the 13 service members killed Thursday while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, died during an attack at the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport, the Department of Defense said Saturday.
He enlisted in September 2017 and attended Hospital Corpsman School in San Antonio, Texas, before postings in Guam and at Camp Pendleton.
The Soviak family said in a statement that “words cannot express how heartbroken we are with this news and we will miss Max tremendously.” It said he leaves behind a dozen brothers and sisters “that are all hurting terribly.”
“Max was a wonderful son who loved his family, his community, and was proud to serve in the U.S. Navy,” the family statement added. “He was excited about the opportunities the Navy would offer him and planned to make the Navy a career. We are incredibly proud of his service to our country.”
Soviak lived in Berlin Heights and graduated from Edison High School in 2017, where he also wrestled and played football. At Friday night’s football game, fans honored him with a moment of silence.
During his final two years of high school, Soviak also attended a career center where he took electrical classes.
“Max always was smiling. We had a lot of good conversations. Max was good for pulling shenanigans and liked to get other people to laugh,” said Vince Ragnoni, his electrical technology teacher.
Soviak’s parents were always involved at school, Ragnoni said.
“He was just really, really loved by his parents. He was just a friendly soul,” he said.
The Soviak family said Maxton was proud of being part of a state champion wrestling team and a final four state playoff football team two years in a row, “but he was most proud to be a Navy Corpsman and a ‘devil doc’ for the Marines.”
“His final words to his mother over FaceTime when he was telling her goodbye was after she told him to be safe, were, ‘Don’t worry mom, my guys got me. They won’t let anything happen to me,’” the statement said. “Today she realized that they all just went together.”
Word of his death spread quickly through the village of Berlin Heights.
A stream of family and friends, some carrying containers filled with food, stopped throughout the day Friday to visit the house where Soviak’s parents live. Someone early in the day sent boxes of pizza.
Their home, with a U.S. flag lowered to half-staff in the front yard, sits on a street that’s lined with the Stars and Stripes from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
By late in the afternoon, more flags appeared along the street, one of two main routes through the village.