- Big changes for health insurance: Watch for these 6 possible pitfalls
- HHS acknowledges overcounting Obamacare enrollment
- Obama immigration plan could affect thousands in Texas
- Radar van locations, traffic incidents & today's gas prices
- Pima men's soccer ends 'year to remember' with tourney loss
- Supes OK count as Barber alleges ballots improperly rejected10
- McSally gets freshman orientation in DC as recount looms7
- Undocumented woman marks 100 days in sanctuary in Tucson church6
- Judge denies McSally move, says to continue counting Pima ballots6
- McSally walks back plan to bar press from election party6
Updated Sep 28, 2012, 3:18 pm Originally posted Sep 28, 2012, 12:47 pm
A Tucson soldier, Army Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said Friday.
Sparks, 29, and another soldier were killed in Pul-E Alam, Afghanistan, when an insurgent wearing a suicide vest detonated the bomb near their patrol.
The soldiers were serving with the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The Schweinfurt, Germany-based unit was deployed in Logar province in eastern Afghanistan.
Including Sparks' death, 52 troops with Southern Arizona connections have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—20 in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion of that country.
The other soldier who was killed in the incident was identified as Sgt. Jonathan A. Gollnitz, 28, of Lakehurst, N.J.
Both men were members of Anvil Troop, according to the 1st Squadron's Facebook page.
Sparks "touched the lives of many soldiers during his time in Anvil. He is remembered as a contagious optimist who was always in good spirits. Someone that could relate to soldiers on a personal level and helped guide them through life. Orion was an outstanding trainer of soldiers and a leader who was not afraid to get his hands dirty and lead from the front. A true NCO to the end. He was a cornerstone in Anvil Troop," said a statement posted by Lt. Col. Whit Wright, the 173rd Airborne's commander.
"Several other paratroopers were wounded, one severely, in the same incident," Wright wrote.
Concerned about keeping quality reporting alive in Tucson?
A metro area of nearly 1 million deserves a vital & sustainable source of news that's independent and locally run.
Support TucsonSentinel.com with a contribution today!