Navy posthumously promotes corpsman killed in Kabul airport attack
Stars and Stripes September 7, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Navy has posthumously promoted the sailor killed nearly two weeks ago in an Islamic State attack as he helped with the U.S. evacuation mission at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, the service announced Tuesday.
Hospital Corpsman Maxton “Max” W. Soviak was given the rank of petty officer 3rd class and awarded the Purple Heart and Fleet Marine Force Corpsman warfare badge “as a result of his brave actions in support of fellow service members,” the Navy said in a statement.
Soviak of Berlin Heights, Ohio, was assigned to the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division when he and 12 other U.S. service members were killed Aug. 26 when an Islamic State suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest and ISIS gunmen fired on crowds near the Abbey gate of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul four days before the U.S. mission in Afghanistan ended.
The U.S. troops were helping screen hopeful evacuees before entry into the airport where American and coalition forces were conducting airlifts out of the country in the final days of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
“Petty Officer Soviak gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country,” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in the statement. “While this promotion and the Fleet Marine Force Corpsman warfare badge are awarded posthumously, I have no doubt his dedication to this nation, his displayed skill as a hospital corpsman and devotion to the mission at hand warrant this recognition.”
In total, U.S. and coalition forces evacuated more than 124,000 Americans, Afghans seeking special immigrant visas and other vulnerable Afghans out of Afghanistan starting in late July.
Soviak’s remains are scheduled to arrive at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Wednesday with a public procession to follow, The Plain Dealer reported Monday.