The life of Captain Patrice Sonzogni, 46, killed during an insurgent attack on February 11, was exemplary. Enlisted at 21 as a NCO, he climbed all the ranks before becoming an officer in 2001. He was promoted to captain in July 2005.
By his conduct and demeanor, Captain Sonzogni was the most decorated officer of his regiment. People who knew him said he was enthusiastic with a strong character who led his men though his example. Through his experience and human qualities he had become a benchmark to all the artillerymen of the Soult Barracks.
During his career, this ex-long range action & research commando took part in most of France's external operations, both in Africa and in the Balkans. In 1991, during the First Gulf War, he is badly wounded by a mine explosion during an assault on a fort near As-Alman.
Captain Sonzogni had never been to Afghanistan before last November when he joined the OMLT (Operational monitoring liaison team) commanded by Lt.Col Smagghe and charged with advising the 1st Brigade of the 201st Corps of the Afghan National Army which mission is to secure the two major logistical lines leading to Kabul.
Several soldiers from the 35e RAP (35th Airborne Artillery Regiment) have been wounded in Afghanistan recently. The Regimental surgeon, Commandant Boniface, and his aide, Brigadier-Chef StÃ©phane Rouffet were wounded during a contact on September 27. A few weeks ago, Brigadier-Chef Valens was hit in the eye in similar circumstances. Not to mention Brigadier-Chef TrÃ©vor Rodrigues, badly wounded in the legs and torso during the same attack that claimed Captain Sonzogni's life.
A LÃ©gion d'Honneur recipient, this exemplary officer was married and the father of two children.