WARWICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on Thursday in honor of New York Marine who was killed in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Eric Christian of Warwick and another Marine, Cpl. David Sonka of Parker, Colo., were killed Saturday while conducting combat operations in the Farah province of Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said.
Military officials have not said how the two died, but Christian’s brother Philip Christian told local media they were training Afghan soldiers when one of them turned on the Americans and shot them during a patrol.
They were members of a Marine Corps Special Operations Battalion based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Their deaths are under investigation, military officials said.
“I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Staff Sgt. Christian,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I extend my deepest sympathy to his family, his friends and his fellow Marines. We will honor his service and sacrifice and his dedication to our nation.”
Phillip Christian told Newsday his brother’s body will be flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Tuesday. The family will be there to meet the plane.
“We received a phone call from the base commander,” he said. “He said when Eric’s body was put on the plane, there were 150 Marines at full attention as the plane took off. He said he had never seen anything like that before.”
Christian grew up in Poughkeepsie and graduated from high school in Ramsey, N.J. His mother lives in Warwick on the New Jersey border.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- 9 Dead, Dozens Missing After Blaze At Bay Area Warehouse Party
- Cops In Connecticut, Westchester Search For Suspects In Interstate Burglary Spree
- Third Person Dies From Injuries Sustained In Brookhaven Wrong-Way Crash
- Teen Daredevil Charged With Misdemeanors After Posting Photos To Social Media
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)