Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton "Max" Soviak, the sailor killed in a suicide bombing at Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan last month, will be posthumously honored by both the Navy and his hometown before being laid to rest.
The Navy announced Tuesday that Soviak, who was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif., was promoted to the rank of Hospital Corpsman Third Class on Sept. 2. He also was awarded the Purple Heart and the Fleet Marine Force Corpsman warfare badge.
The latter is a qualification that sailors typically earn to signify their ability to support Marines after more than a year of study, preparation, and examination.
"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," Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in the press release.
The 22-year-old sailor's remains are scheduled to arrive in his hometown of Berlin Heights, Ohio, on Wednesday morning. Along the way to the funeral home, he will be escorted by veteran-affiliated motorcycle groups and public safety officials, the Navy announced.
The route through the town of Milan will pass by Edison High School, where Soviak graduated in 2017.
"All members of the community are invited and encouraged to pay their respects to Corpsman Soviak and his family along the entire public processional route," the Navy's press release added.
In a statement, Soviak's family said that he was proud to serve in the Navy and that he had planned to make the service a career.
"Words cannot express how heartbroken we are with this news and we will miss Max tremendously," the family said.
"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 family said.
Soviak was among the 13 servicemembers killed in a suicide bombing attack at the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 26 as U.S. forces evacuated Americans and Afghan refugees in the last days of the Afghanistan war.
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.