Tucson soldier killed in Afghanistan

Army Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, 29, of Tucson, was killed Wednesday in Logar Province, Afghanistan, when an insurgent wearing a suicide vest detonated the device near Staff Sgt. Sparks’ dismounted patrol. A second American serviceman was also killed in the attack; Sgt. Jonathan A. Gollnitz, 28, of Lakehurst, N.J.

Staff Sgt. Sparks was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and based in Schweinfurt, Germany.

Arizona’s Governor asked Arizonans to join her “in extending Arizona’s sincerest condolences and prayers for the families and loved ones of both Staff Sgt. Sparks and Sgt. Gollnitz. As always, let us keep close to our hearts each of the uniformed men and women who defend our Nation on American soil and abroad. We can never repay these heroes for their service and sacrifice. May we offer our deepest gratitude and respect so that they always feel our heartfelt appreciation for all that they do to keep us safe and our Nation free.

In honor of Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, the Governor ordered that flags at all State buildings be flown at half-staff yesterday.

State flags will again be lowered on the day of his interment, for which services are pending.

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