1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 22, 2005
Baghdad (military hospital), Iraq
High School: Fallbrook High (Fallbrook)
Burial: Eternal Hills Memorial Park, Oceanside
The 34-year-old Fallbrook resident died Sept. 22 in the Iraqi capital after a homemade bomb detonated near his armored personnel carrier. Sonoda was the only soldier killed in the explosion.Read the entire LA Times article about Army National Guard Sergeant Mike T. Sonoda Jr. here and read about the award of the Hawaii Medal of Honor here.
"He was my big brother and my hero.... Our entire family is so proud of his service," said Sonoda's sister, Irene, describing her brother in a statement as "very caring and generous, inquisitive and dedicated."
It was the third military assignment for Sonoda, who joined the Army in 1995 and served until late 1997 as a parachute rigger in the 325th Airborne in Vicenza, Italy.
He later served in the California Army National Guard, joining up two days before terrorists flew airliners into the Pentagon and New York City's World Trade Center. He served in Kuwait until March 2002.
His first deployment to Iraq began in January, and he was due to rotate back to the United States early next year.
Sonoda, who was described by his military buddies as a "computer geek," worked as a hazardous materials inspector for the U.S. Postal Service.
In an Internet tribute to Sonoda, his comrades in arms said he loved three things: "to smoke, sometimes like a train; read sci-fi books; and he loved Japanese cartoons."
"He didn't deserve to die," the tribute added, "and he especially didn't deserve to die like this."
Sonoda is survived by his parents, Mike Sr. and Emiko, and his sister.
Army National Guard Sergeant Mike T. Sonoda Jr. previously remembered at Boom3 Wednesday, September 22, 2010.