Navy Corpsman Killed In Kabul Posthumously Promoted To Petty Officer, Awarded Purple Heart

(Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)

Madeline Dovi Contributor
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The Navy corpsman who was killed August in a suicide bombing at Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, has been posthumously promoted and awarded the Purple Heart for his service, the Navy announced Tuesday.

Hospital Corpsman Maxton “Max” W. Soviak, 22, 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 Tuesday.

Soviak was among 13 U.S. service members killed in the Aug. 26 bombing, which U.S. officials blamed on terrorist organization ISIS-K, military news outlet Task and Purpose reported. (RELATED: Kabul Airport Bombings Mark Third Deadliest Day For US Troops In Afghanistan War)

At least 90 Afghan civilians were also killed, along with 11 U.S. Marines and an Army special operations soldier, according to the Wall Street Journal. Eighteen other American service members and many more Afghans were reportedly wounded in the attack. (RELATED: 13 US Troops Killed, 18 Wounded In Kabul Attacks, Pentagon Confirms)

“Petty Officer Soviak gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country,” Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy, 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.”

Soviak, a Berlin Heights, Ohio native, was assigned to the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, at the time of the attack, according to Task and Purpose. He enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 26, 2017, and had been with the 1st Marine Regiment since September 2020.

“Max always was smiling. We had a lot of good conversations,” Vince Ragnoni, who taught Soviak electrical technology lessons in high school, told CBS Pittsburgh last month. “Max was good for pulling shenanigans and liked to get other people to laugh.”

Ragnoni told the outlet he last spoke with Soviak shortly after the latter graduated high school in 2017.

“He had just joined the Navy and he started telling me about what he’d be doing,” Ragnoni told CBS Pittsburgh. “I thanked him for his service. I told him I knew he would do great things. He was happy and excited about that.”

Soviak’s remains are being returned to Ohio Wednesday morning, where a private procession is scheduled in his honor, according to a Navy news release.

Soviak’s family, including his 12 siblings, have asked for privacy as they grieve with close family and friends.

“Max was a wonderful son who loved his family, his community, and was proud to serve in the U.S. Navy,” Soviak’s family told the Navy Times last month. “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.”