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Superior-area native killed in Iraq

An Iron Range resident has been killed in Iraq.

Family members were notified of Sgt. First Class Matthew Pionk's death Wednesday night, according to his father, Duane Pionk of Oliver, just south of Superior.

Pionk, 30, served with the Third Cavalry, Second Squadron based out of Ft. Lewis, Wash. Pionk departed for Iraq five months ago.

The circumstances of his death have not been made public. A formal announcement of Pionk's death from the Army had not been released as of tonight.

Pionk and his wife Melanie were married in 1998. They recently moved to Eveleth, Melanie Pionk said tonight.

"This is where he was going to come home to," she said.

Pionk enlisted with the military on April 1, 1998, according to Melanie.

"His whole life was the military," she said.

Duane Pionk said his son was awarded a Bronze Star medal on his first tour of Iraq about three years ago.

Matthew and Melanie have three children.

"He was a great dad and a great solider," Melanie Pionk said. "That's about all I can tell you."