SOFREP is deeply saddened by the news released this morning about the loss of Green Beret Warrant Officer John Wirka, who was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne). WO1 Wirka died from a non-combat related incident on January 14, 2021.
The Commander of 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Col. John W. Sannes, released the following statement expressing his condolences with Service Members and Families of 7th SFG(A):
“On January 14, 2021, Warrant Officer John Wirka, from our 2nd Battalion, died from a non-combat related incident. With this tragic event, John leaves behind his spouse and one child. John served his nation honorably and was loved by many. We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our finest Soldiers. Our priority of effort now is to provide the best possible care to his family. Please keep his wife Erica, his child, his family, and his teammates in your thoughts and prayers while they grieve through this difficult time.”
Warrant Officer John Michael Wirka, Jr. was born in Tampa, FL, on October 2, 1984. He graduated from Lake Mary High School in 2003 and the Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2008. WO1 Wirka enlisted in the United States Army on February 8, 2010. He attended Infantry One Station Unit Training and Airborne School in Fort Benning, GA, then went on to Special Forces Assessment and Selection and the Qualification Course in September 2010 in Fort Bragg, NC.
After completing the Special Forces Qualification Course in February 2012, WO1 Wirka was assigned to 3rd BN, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Eglin AFB, FL. On Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha (SFOD-A) 7325, he deployed multiple times to support USSOUTHCOM, USNORTHCOM, and Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan.
WO1 Wirka later served as the senior instructor at the Maritime Operations Training Detachment. There he trained 7th Group personnel in maritime operations and assessed Combat Diver Qualification Course candidates, producing over 50 dive-qualified soldiers for the Special Forces Regiment. WO1 Wirka served on SFOD-A 7225, deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. WO1 Wirka was commissioned as a Special Forces warrant officer in 2020 and was assigned as the assistant detachment commander for SFOD-A 7215.
WO1 Wirka’s military education consisted of Airborne School; Warrior Leader’s Course; Advanced Leader’s Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) School; Special Forces Engineer Sergeants Course; Raven Operator Course; Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course; Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course; Combat Diving Supervisor Course; Achilles Dagger; Ranger Course; Army Basic Instructor Course; Senior Leader Course; SOF Jumpmaster Course; and Special Forces Warrant Officer Technical and Tactical Course.
WO1 Wirka’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star (2nd Award); Army Superior Unit Award; Army Achievement Award; Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award); National Defense Service Ribbon; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2nd Award); Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (3rd Award); Army Service Ribbon; NATO Non Article 5 Medal for ISAF Afghanistan (2nd Award); Special Forces Tab; Ranger Tab; Parachutist Badge; and Special Operations Diving Supervisor Badge.
“Families and friends of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), we are sad to announce the passing of Warrant Officer John Michael Wirka,” the 7th Special Forces Group (A) posted on Twitter this morning.
Warrant Officer John Michael Wirka, Jr. is survived by his wife, Erica, and their daughter.
Our thoughts and prayers are with WO1 Wirka’s family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time.
Further details around this tragic death are still being learned.
De Oppresso Liber – Combat Divers Never Quit