The family of the Navy corpsman who died in Thursday’s suicide bombing and ISIS-K attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, identified him as their son, 22-year-old Maxton “Max” Soviak of Berlin Heights, Ohio.
Soviak was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, out of Camp Pendleton, California.
Soviak enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 26, 2017, and graduated from Recruit Training Command, in Great Lakes, Illinois, that November.
His other military assignments included Hospital Corpsman School in San Antonio, Texas; Navy Medical Readiness and Training Command in Guam; and Field Medical Training Battalion West, Camp Pendleton. Soviak reported to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, in September 2020.
U.S. military officials say that 13 troops were killed in the airport attack, with at least another 18 wounded. The dead include 11 Marines, a soldier and Soviak, according to Defense Department. The attack also claimed the lives of an estimated 170 civilians.
His family released an updated statement Saturday.
“On behalf of the entire Soviak family, we want to thank all those who have extended their support and prayers on the loss of our son, Max.
“Max was a wonderful son who loved his family, his community, and was proud to serve in the U.S. Navy.
“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.
“Words cannot express how heartbroken we are with this news and we will miss Max tremendously. We are struggling to come to grips with this personal tragedy and prefer to grieve with close family and friends.
“Maxton was an awesome young man who was well liked in the community, as evidenced by the outpouring of condolences from teachers, coaches, employers, family and friends. He was always proud of being part of a state champion wrestling team and state playoff final four 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 — after she told him to be safe — were, ‘Don’t worry mom, my guys got me. They won’t let anything happen to me.’
“Today, she realized that they all just went together.
“Maxton leaves behind 12 brothers and sisters that are all hurting terribly.
“As we mourn the loss of our son, we also mourn for the loss of the Marines and Soldier who were killed and pray for the speedy recovery of all of those wounded in Afghanistan.
“As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family and we respectfully request that you honor our privacy.”
Soviak was a 2017 graduate of Edison High School, according to the Sandusky Register.
Edison Local Schools released a statement Friday on Soviak’s passing, cleveland.com reported.
“Max was a good student who was active in sports and other activities throughout his school career,” the statement read. “He was well respected and liked by everyone who knew him. Max was full of life in everything he did. Our schools and local community are mourning the loss of Max. He and his family are in all of our thoughts and prayers.”
A woman identified as his sister, Marilyn Soviak, also posted a tribute to her brother on Instagram.
Acting swiftly on President Joe Biden’s promise to retaliate for the deadly attack, the U.S. military said it killed two members of the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate with a drone strike in the group’s eastern stronghold.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digital Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.