The Department of Defense announced the death of six soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died January 9, 2008 in Sinsil, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated in a booby-trapped house during combat operations. They were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Vilseck, Germany.
Killed were:Spc. Todd E. Davis, 22, of Raymore, Mo., Staff Sgt. Jonathan K. Dozier, 30, of Rutherford, Tenn., Staff Sgt. Sean M. Gaul, 29, of Reno, Nev., Sgt. Zachary W. McBride, 20, of Bend, Ore., Sgt. 1st Class Matthew I. Pionk, 30, of Superior, Wis., Sgt. Christopher A. Sanders, 22, of Roswell, N.M.
From the Superior Telegram -- An Iron Range resident and Superior-area native has been killed in Iraq. Family members were notified of Sgt. First Class Matthew Pionk’s death Wednesday night, according to his father, Duane Pionk of Oliver, just south of Superior.
Pionk, 30, served with the Third Cavalry, Second Squadron based out of Ft. Lewis, Wash. Pionk departed for Iraq five months ago.
Pionk and his wife Melanie were married in 1998. They recently moved to Eveleth, Melanie Pionk said tonight. “This is where he was going to come home to,” she said.
Pionk enlisted with the military on April 1, 1998, according to Melanie. “His whole life was the military,” she said.
Duane Pionk said his son was awarded a Bronze Star medal on his first tour of Iraq about three years ago.
Matthew and Melanie have three children. “He was a great dad and a great solider,” Melanie Pionk said. “That’s about all I can tell you.”