Colorado Springs Soldier Dies In Non-Combat Incident

The Department of Defense has confirmed the death of a local soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn.

Unanswered questions linger for a family who lost their soldier in Iraq. Sergeant Mark Cofield died July 17, 2011 from non-combat related injuries in Baghdad.

According to his family, this was a man who was promoted to Sergeant just 18 months after basic training. Coming from a military background, Sgt. Cofield’s father was in the Air Force for many years and recently re-enlisted into the military, this time into the Army. His brother is also a soldier who served two tours overseas. With almost her entire family a part of the military, his sister Sara Cofield had trouble believing the news of her brother’s death.

"Never thought it'd be (us), (we) always thought (we) were the lucky ones to have all three of them come back. So that was hard," Sara said.

Friends and family are left wondering what happened overseas to Sgt. Cofield, a man they watched grow up.

"(His death) just comes so close to home and just hits your heart and makes it all real," family friend Suzi Dixon said.

"There's going to be such a hole in this community's heart because Mark was all about love," neighbor Liz Cameron said.

According to those who knew him best, the 25-year-old Sgt. Cofield excelled at everything, especially athletics. A hockey player for most of his life, he eventually competed as a part of the Rampart High School hockey team. While in Iraq, he started running marathons and even won a few.

"Mark had one of the biggest hearts of anybody I've ever met," family friend Samantha Wolf said.

"He had the strength and compassion that normally you don't see together," family friend Ester Mabry said.

While gathered in the Cofield home, stories and memories of Sgt. Cofield overflow with smiles, love, and warmth. But his sister Sara will remember him most for the times they shared together cooking, gardening, and just being a family.

"I'm proud to say that my brother served, that's a good thing. He not only was a soldier and served our country and will be missed as a part of it but he'll be missed as a brother, and as a son, and as a friend," Sara said choking back tears.

His body was expected to arrive at Fort Bragg in North Carolina late Tuesday night. Stay with 11 News to you bring information about his memorial services.

His mother, Tari Cofield, is an active member of Blue Star Mothers of America (a national organization) and was an integral part of created a chapter for the Southern Colorado area.

For more information about the program, the websites are:

Rampart Range Blue Star Mothers:
Pikes Peak Gold Star Mothers:

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Paula Location: PA on Jul 28, 2011 at 08:29 AM
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you from Military Families Ministry groups in PA and CO.
  • by Alex Location: Maryland on Jul 23, 2011 at 04:59 PM
    I only met Mark briefly, but he had a great personality and was incredibly talented and professional in his work. It's a shame to see someone destined for greatness like Mark go so young. My deepest condolences to his family.
  • by Sweet Action on Jul 21, 2011 at 09:42 PM
    My heart shatters for you, Mark - Your family is in my thoughts; and you will be too........ Always.... You were like my brother. I don't want to believe this.
  • by Stacey on Jul 20, 2011 at 06:06 PM
    A great young man who always showed a lot of respect and had a big heart. Somone all his friends could count on.
  • by Thomas Location: Colorado Springs on Jul 20, 2011 at 06:23 AM
    He was a good friend. Even closer friend to my little brother. He'll be missed.
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