A soldier with ties to North Carolina was killed Sunday while overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Department of Defense officials announced Monday.
Sgt. 1st Class Justin S. Monschke, 28, of Krum, Texas, was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat operations in the south Baghdad region of Arab Jabour, Iraq. He was assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg.
Monschke, a special forces weapons sergeant, graduated from Krum High School in May 1997. He enlisted in the Army the next month. He spent more than two years with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.
He was also an instructor at the U.S. Army Ranger Training Battalion in Dahlonega, Ga., and a squad leader and observer-controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La. He earned the coveted Green Beret in 2002.
He joined his latest unit in April 2006.
He deployed this June as a member of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula. This was Monschke's second overseas deployment and the first to Iraq.
His awards include two Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Military Freefall Badge, Air Assault Badge, Ranger Tab, and the Special Forces Tab.
He is survived by his wife, Melissa; daughter, Ashley; son, Ryan; stepson, Dylan; father, Larry Monschke; and mother, Patty Jett.
(News researcher Lamara Williams-Hackett contributed to this report.)