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Army Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven

Died January 20, 2013 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


38, of Plainwell, Mich.; assigned to 32nd Transportation Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Jan. 20, at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, from wounds caused by an improvised explosive device on Dec. 15 in Kabul, Afghanistan.


West Michigan soldier dies of Afghan combat wounds

The Associated Press

PLAINWELL, Mich. — A 38-year-old Army sergeant from western Michigan has died from injuries he sustained last month in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense says that Mark Schoonhoven died Sunday at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

He was from Plainwell, about 12 miles north of Kalamazoo, and was based at Fort Carson in Colorado.

The Pentagon says that Schoonhoven was wounded Dec. 15 when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kabul, Afghanistan. He had recently started his third deployment there.

He joined the Army in 2006 and served as a motor transport operator for the 32nd Transportation Company, which is part of the 4th Infantry Division. His decorations include two Army commendation medals, a National Defense Service medal and a NATO medal.


Mayor: Plainwell to rally behind soldier's family

The Associated Press

PLAINWELL, Mich. — Plainwell's mayor says the western Michigan community will rally around the family of a 38-year-old Army sergeant who died from injuries he sustained in an enemy attack in Afghanistan.

Mark Schoonhoven died Sunday at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday. He was based at Fort Carson in Colorado.

Schoonhoven was a 1994 graduate of Plainwell High School. The city of 3,800 is about 12 miles north of Kalamazoo.

Plainwell Mayor Richard Brooks told Mlive.com  that his city has dealt with war deaths in the past. He noted the death of Pvt. Thomas Allers of Plainwell, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

"Unfortunately, we know how to deal with this," Brooks said. "Two years ago one of our own died. That was tragic, and so is this."

Brooks said residents rallied around the Allers family, and he expects the same for Schoonhoven's.

"Plainwell is a great community, and they will come together for the family," Brooks said.

According to the Pentagon, Schoonhoven was wounded Dec. 15 when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kabul, Afghanistan. He had arrived in Afghanistan the previous month.

He had previously been deployed to Afghanistan two separate times.

Schoonhoven joined the Army in 2006 and served as a motor transport operator for the 32nd Transportation Company, which is part of the 4th Infantry Division. His decorations include two Army commendation medals, a National Defense Service medal and a NATO medal.

Bob Dines, a member of Otsego American Legion Post 84, said he met Schoonhoven's parents when he presented them with a Blue Star Banner in 2011 in recognition of their son's duty in Afghanistan.

"They were very gracious people, Harry and Deb, and they were very proud of Mark," Dines said. "They were just a very nice family."

Dines said the Legion offered help and support to the family during Schoonhoven's deployment.

No immediate funeral or memorial services were announced. A Fort Carson spokesman said there probably would be an on-base memorial ceremony for Schoonhoven next week.


Fort Carson honors slain soldier from Michigan

The Associated Press

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Colleagues are remembering a Michigan soldier based at Fort Carson in Colorado as a ray of sunshine.

Thirty-eight-year-old Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven of Plainwell, Mich., died Jan. 20 at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He died of injuries sustained from an improvised device Dec. 15 in Kabul shortly after arriving for his third deployment to Afghanistan.

The Gazette reports that at his memorial service Wednesday at Fort Carson, 1st Lt. Natalie Lopez-Barnard said Schoonhoven challenged everyone to appreciate the daily grind and take everything with a smile.

Schoonhoven was assigned to the 43rd Sustainment Brigade, part of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson.

Survivors include his wife, Tammie, and six children.

His funeral will be Feb. 7 in Otsego, Mich.


Hundreds honor Mich. soldier killed in Afghanistan
The Associated Press

OTSEGO, Mich. — Hundreds of people have turned out to mourn a western Michigan soldier who was fatally injured in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan.

The funeral Mass for 38-year-old Sgt. Mark Schoonhoven was held Thursday at St. Margaret Catholic Church in Otsego.

Family friend Don Vernkow told mourners Thursday that Schoonhoven had a "1,000 watt smile" and "found his true calling" when he joined the Army.

Schoonhoven was from Plainwell and was part of a unit out of Fort Carson, Colo. He arrived in Afghanistan in November and was wounded Dec. 15 when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kabul.

He died Jan. 20 at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Mlive.com says burial is at Fort Custer National Cemetery.

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